Neil Drumming
October 31, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

Become the Soft Lightes

Current Status
In Season

We gave it a B+

When he sings ”Everybody needs a shirt,” Ron Fountenberry could just be waxing ironic or edgy in a ”Vice” magazine-reading hipster kind of way. After all, he did recruit proto-smirker Beck’s drummer Joey Waronker to produce BECOME THE SOFT LIGHTES (Ultimatum), the second full-length by his band THE INCREDIBLE MOSES LEROY. And Miho Hatori, ever the fallback vocalist of snarky fringer Dan the Automator, does make a guest appearance. But if Fountenberry is funning, you can’t tell from the wistful, unadorned way in which he pines over past loves. In fact, there isn’t a single discernible crack in Fountenberry’s precious poker face, even as he croons sugary sentiments such as ”It’s like starry warm nights, kittens with mittens.” What’s more, like fellow mellow singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche, he makes this sweet pap palatable with subtle keys and acoustics, and enough uptempo drum-machine action to keep your head nodding even as your teeth are rotting.

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