Favorite Saints Southern Gentlemen

Favorite Saints are going to be plagued by Death Cab comparisons, most of it having to do with singer/songwriter David Elliot Johnson’s familiar timbre and "dear diary” lyrics. But the four-piece go far beyond that, incorporating lovely co-ed harmonies with band-mate Alison Rich, plenty of tasteful instrumental samples, strong indie pop hooks and a whole lot of viola. Too much, actually; one of the EP’s few consistent flaws is the cluttering of its arrangements. The strings can be a beautiful addition, like on "Never Turn in Your Brother,” but elsewhere it muddles the entire mix, especially when we’re also dealing with prominent samples like the title track. All in all though, an above-average indie-pop debut, and certainly better than those Death Cab comparisons are going to let on. (Play Favorites)