Pete Yorn, 'Back and Fourth' (Columbia)

Critical Mass
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by Mikael Wood

This well-connected L.A. folkie traveled to Nebraska to record his latest with producer Mike Mogis, but Back and Fourth retains the glazed-over feel of Yorn's earlier work. Standouts exist: "Paradise Cove" is an appropriately breezy number about a "white trash beach," and Yorn gets an emotional charge out of contrasting overly specific lyrics with blandly handsome sonics, as on "Social Development Dance," where he sings of a deceased friend, "I Googled you in quotes, got no results." Most of these ten tracks, though, make Jason Mraz sound daring.

Watch: Pete Yorn, "Don't Wanna Cry" Don't Wanna Cry

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