Jesse Harris Watching the Sky

Jesse Harris Watching the Sky
With his perfectly pleasant pop sensibility and writing credits for several of Norah Jones's biggest hits (including the Grammy-winning "Don't Know Why"), Brooklyn, NY's Jesse Harris should be better known. On his eighth release, Harris's sweetly catchy melodies are buoyed by the peppy percussion of Mauro Refosco (David Byrne, Bebel Gilberto). The collection gets off to a strong start with reggae-flavoured opener "On A Day" and the pop-kissed "Watching The Sky," which has "light rock radio staple" written all over it. The subtle plunk of Refosco's marimba adds spice to Harris's compositions this time around, while glittering horn parts and understated banjo also help steer the album away from the middle of the road. Although the second half of the album loses focus and drifts a little too far into vague prettiness, the arrangements remain inventive enough throughout to make this a compelling and listenable album. (Mercer Street)