Windmill, 'Puddle City Racing Lights' (Friendly Fire)

5
Puddle City Racing Lights
Critical Mass
Label: Friendly Fire

by Shannon Zimmerman

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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