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Windmill, ‘Puddle City Racing Lights’ (Friendly Fire)

With a vocal style so wide-eyed and winsome that it makesJack Johnson sound cynical, Matthew Thomas Dillon flirts with earnest disaster on his patchy debut. Indeed, on the thickly orchestrated “Asthmatic” and “Boarding Lounges,” he pushes the goopy melodrama over the line. But buoyed by lilting melodies that conjure a less cerebral Flaming Lips (“Newsflash,” “Plasticine Plugs”) and hired hands who jolt their irony-deficient leader with percussive sonics, Puddle City Racing Lights achieves a certain cotton-candy stickiness.

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Tags: Albums
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