Singer and songwriter Matt Kerstein was born in Brighton, MA — hence the name for his latest project, formed after the Chicagoan left the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir in 2006. As heard on the recently released Amateur Lovers, the band is discovering its own voice within walls of sound, guitar upon guitar, organ upon mellotron and violin upon cello, as if testing the will of good pop songs to transcend their own capacious designs. They do, on the charm of Kerstein's Dylan-as-an-Irish-lad delivery and melodies that rise in shining arcs over writerly but never obtuse lyrics. On "Hold On," as a sun shower threatens to break out around him, Kerstein declares, "a universal theory of everything is our only hope now." Maybe — but in a pinch, artful, arresting pop will more than suffice.
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