All Smiles

Ten Readings of a Warning
(Dangerbird Records)

Jim Fairchild explores modest arrangements on his debut as All Smiles, finding mostly memorable hooks in airy, acoustic guitar-driven folk pop. Ten Readings of a Warningis Fairchild's solo outing; his former gig as a guitarist for West Coast psych-pop troupe Grandaddy ended last year. Although he's a strong singer, Fairchild weathers some growing pains on Ten Readings; the entries don't differ much between tracks and fall short in the way of dynamics, partly because of his bare-bones, in-house recording sessions. "Moth in a Cloud of Smoke" wears the paisley Magical Mystery Toursuit that its title suggests, with Fairchild's light vocal winding around bulky piano and a skeletal, fuzzbox guitar solo. The subsequent stripped-down "I Know It's Wrong" is equally embraceable, with verses coated in the echo effects that acid-washed indie rockers Olivia Tremor Control so frequently employed on their two full-lengths. But tracks like "Pile of Burning Leaves" and "Leave Love" don't border such charm until their instrumental bridges, when Fairchild's limited means works with him, and he delivers on the promise of capably distinguishing these numbers from the rest of a periodically unbalanced tracklist.

 
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