Archer Prewitt 

Wilderness (Thrill Jockey)

Prewitt's Coctails were once the toast of Kansas City, and his (well, Sam Prekop's) Sea and Cake now outswells Sebadoh in the indie racks. But it's these solo discs that should make the man something more than a hero to record-store geeks. With equal parts melancholy and McCartney, Prewitt here wins over the geeks' girlfriends, too. He offers up the kind of dapper romantic swirl you'd expect from Rufus Wainwright or Damien Rice, but without the ego. No jokes, no kitsch, no mistaking depression for a Byronic fabulousness. Just humble, hummable songs such as "Judy, Judy" and "Way of the Sun" that, despite occasional strings and surprise key changes, arrive someplace both unexpected and perfectly natural. Stirring and a touch effete, three-quarters of the tracks here could be the finale of a lesser record.

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