The Ginger Envelope Edible Orchids

Damn you, Patton Oswalt! Every time I hear about the city of Athens, GA, all I can think of is Oswalt’s corrosive take on the hippie-ness of the place (which he also extends to Austin, TX). "Can I pay for this coffee with a song?” "No!” may be accurate to quote. Well, say what you will but it still is the city that birthed R.E.M., so that goes a long way. Indeed, it seems to have a way with birthing bands that have a way with a quirky melody. Though it doesn’t quite gel all the time, there are enough bright spots here to make this album just this side of enchanting. Take "Dirty Penny,” which starts out quite non-descript, with a plaintive voice singing with a standard guitar, but it takes a left turn with beautiful overlapping harmonies and the right amount of pedal steel. It’s a cute little wind-swept pop number that showcases this band’s widescreen ambitions. Another winner is the brisk bop of opener "Caretaker,” where a little ambling piano adds a bit of class to the stomping tempo. They are not all winners but this is still a very fun and very able debut. (One Percent Press)