Sunshine Fix Age of the Sun

As a principal member of the Olivia Tremor Control, Bill Doss was responsible for some of the catchiest, most crafty pop tunes of the late '90s. He also had a hand in OTC's noisy, experimental and sometimes unlistenable material - the stuff that lurked between the band's proper songs like some sort of awkward alter-ego bent on reminding listeners that this was, after all, art. For those fans without the requisite amount of patience and/or imagination required to spare the skip button, Doss's latest project, the Sunshine Fix, ought to find favour. Considerably more straight-ahead than either of OTC's full-length efforts, Age of the Sun finds Doss refining his take on trippy psychedelic pop while keeping things interesting with occasional oddball edges and engaging studio shenanigans. His old habit of interjecting instrumental bits between songs remains, but these segues are measured and concise. Lyrically, Doss errs on the side of optimism here, repeatedly employing the sun as an uplifting metaphor for new beginnings. If Age of the Sun falls down at all, the tumbles come at the ends of songs like "Digging To China" and "See Yourself," both of which suffer from patience-testing extended endings. Also, while Doss is blessed with one of those great, lazy voices, he hits well wide of the mark when aiming for targets out of his range. Lending a hand on a number of tracks is Of Montreal's Derek Almstead, whose presence is clear without having to consult the liner notes. (Emperor Norton)