It's hard to grab the spotlight from Joe Pernice. His songwriting skills put most others' to shame, and his newest album transitions effortlessly from alt-country ("We Love the Stage") to crisp power-pop ("Bechamel"), with some cabaret flourishes.
Compared to other albums in his band's catalog, however, these tunes are trimmer and less cohesive when taken as a whole. At times, guitarist James Walbourne steals the show, especially in a woozy interlude in "The Loving Kind" and a crazy, Crazy Horse-style breakdown at the end of "Something for You." While his chops are fun to hear, they're no threat to Pernice, whose melodies will remain in your head for months, if not years.