From the first breathy confessions and warm keyboard sounds that open "Umpqua Rushing," the band establish that this will be a pleasant and pretty listening experience. Israel Nebeker's voice is clean and smooth, and he often backs away from the last consonant of each line delicately; his soul-searching songs are never too pained or aching. His emotional ups and downs are delivered with sincerity and intimacy, but still with enough restraint that they never quite become moving.
The tricky part of an album like this is that while there aren't necessarily "flaws" — the clean vocal harmonies, the velvety horn textures, the sensitive arrangements, the cool lead electric guitar part in the chorus of "Moon at Dawn" are all nicely done — too much pleasantry might beget boredom or even suspicion from a more cynical listener. If you want to just chill at home in the afternoon, give this beauty a spin. Those wanting a reinvented wheel, look elsewhere. (ATO Records)