Will Stratton No Wonder

Will Stratton's quiet, folk-y 2007 debut, What the Night Said, was released when the American singer-songwriter was just 20 years old. Featuring a guest appearance by Sufjan Stevens and a bushel of warm, introspective, finger picked ballads, the album drew breathless comparisons to Nick Drake. The years Stratton has since spent studying music at Vermont's Bennington College have brought further variety and depth to his sophomore album. Piano-kissed acoustic numbers are interspersed with kicks of pop and an occasional fuzzed-out rock vibe. Tapping into the vein of the past 60 years of music history, Stratton's influences are unmistakable but increasingly diverse. The '80s-style electric shimmer of tracks like "Robin & Marian" is the most appealing of his new catalogue of sounds. And while some of his songs occasionally evoke a rather uneasy sense of déjà vu, the pure beauty of this album is easily its most enduring feature. (Stunning Models On Display)