Kevin Barker You & Me (new)

The opening notes of Kevin Barker's solo debut glow with the warmth of early '70s folk rock. When radiant vocal harmonies pour over a loose cascade of piano, the album's retro tone is set. The vintage prettiness of much of You & Me is surprising in view of the more unconventional approach Barker took with his project Currituck Co., not to mention his extensive work with musical oddballs like Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Antony and the Johnsons. It's his connection with mellower folksters Vetiver that's more in evidence here. Lyrical themes that evoke rural Americana, complete with references to "amber waves of grain," along with Barker's beautifully intricate guitar work, make the album a tremendously pleasant journey. The lack of strong hooks in many songs, however, means the music has a tendency to fade into the background rather than grab you by the collar and demand your ear. (Gnomonsong)