Ben Kweller

Go Fly a Kite (The Noise Company)

Phases & Stages

Ben Kweller

Go Fly a Kite (The Noise Company)

Kicking it country-esque on 2009's Changing Horses following his return to Austin, Ben Kweller turns decidedly poppier for his fifth studio affair and first album on his own Noise Company imprint. Though "Mean to Me" opens with a crescendo diving into psychedelic-powered guitar fuzz, Kweller settles into smoother terrain with the easy licks of "Out the Door." The piano-backed punch of "Jealous Girl" and swaying "Gossip" both achieve pinnacles of pop, completely masking their lackluster lyricism, but it's Kweller's pushing his ruffled tenor into Seventies roots-rock territory that serves him best here. "Free" and the whooping "Full Circle" are as Texas hippie as the Armadillo, and the reflective "The Rainbow" and simplicity of "I Miss You" surprise. The up-tempo runs of "Time Will Save the Day" and "Justify Me" get the backside somewhat messy, but closer "You Can Count on Me" flies on target with the Byrds.

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