South Carolina singer Keath Mead’s first record, Sunday Dinner, brings all the comfort and sweet fatigue its title implies. The album is, at its core, a straight-ahead sunburst of power-pop, but it is steeped in an early-’70s singer-songwriter tradition that marries laid-back vibes with lush production. “Waiting” combines swaying keyboards with the slight crunch of guitar chords. “She Had” blooms from a gauzy folk opening to a spare, bluesy shuffle. “Change” ramps up the urgency by meshing the hazy nature of the record with a taut, rock propulsion. In these highlights, Mead sounds like a fresh voice, one capable of dragging the past into the present and adding a few new twists to the mix.
Elsewhere, on the bluesy classic rock of “Holiday”, or on the Allman-kissed gliding hooks of “Settle for Less”, Mead sounds like he’s borrowing more than he’s appropriating. The songs sing often about finding some sort of respite, or figuring out what to leave behind, and the music itself smartly reflects some sort of endgame, the exact escape Mead is looking for. On the way there, Mead meanders back and forth between finding his own voice and standing on the shoulders of giants. Sunday Dinner is a fine start for the singer, even if it leaves him, at moments, still searching.