Umbrellas Illuminare

Primarily the brainchild of Scott Windsor, this sophomore release from Oklahoma’s Umbrellas proves that beautiful pop music can come from just about anywhere. Recorded in an abandoned comedy club with tornadoes occasionally passing by, the environment would suggest a roots-y, Americana sound, but the result is quite the opposite. Lush arrangements filled with piano, synths, programming and guitars give the album a remarkably accomplished sound given its small budget. For the most part, this is a non-threatening indie pop album, and Windsor’s high voice does sound a bit like Ben Gibbard, so filing this alongside Death Cab for Cutie will make sense. Sure, things do crank up a bit on "Crooked,” but overall Illuminare is a really nice, bright listen, with the quietest moment being the acoustic-based "Tests On My Heart.” If you can handle the sugary pop of bands like Lightning Seeds or Keane, you’ll have no problems enjoying this. (Militia Group)