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Josh Rouse

The Happiness Waltz (Yep Roc)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 15, 2013

SXSW 2013 Records

Josh Rouse

The Happiness Waltz (Yep Roc)

Josh Rouse has roamed as far musically as he has geographically, reflected through his 1998 debut, Dressed Up Like Nebraska, 2005's Nashville, and 2010's El Turista after settling in Spain. His 10th LP hearkens more to the robust Seventies soft rock that he explored with 1972, and likewise reunites him with producer Brad Jones. Rouse slips into such sounds with ease, light and exuberant in the keyboard and guitar interplay of "It's Good to Have You" and piano pop of "City People, City Things." The album tips overly saccharine at nearly every turn, but the arrangements are tight and polished, with swelling, lush choruses and grooving AM-radio bridges, as on "Simple Pleasures" and "Start Up a Family," all salved in Rouse's suave croon. Only "Julie (Come Out of the Rain)" and "The Ocean" divert from the formula, refreshingly accented with slide guitar for emotional variation. (12mid, Continental Club)

***

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