Twilight on Sometimes Island

The members of Austin’s Li’l Cap’n Travis are an unlikely bunch: With multiple writers and singers in place of a front man and a bevy of backing musicians, this is a real band—and they’ve been that way from the beginning. They aren’t conventional (no hitting the road in a van for months at a time), but they’re not overtly self-conscious either. In fact, they’re in love with music much older than they are: sunny, countrified sixties California pop, which is not exactly high on the hip meter these days. And, unlike a lot of their contemporaries, they like the studio. Though LCT’s 2000 debut exposed the band as a ragged-but-right alt-country outfit, Twilight on Sometimes Island (Glurp), their fourth CD, is a sonically sophisticated wonder. The group took three years to finish the album, and it shows: Vocal harmonies glide, guitars and pianos sing out majestically, pedal steels soar. If underneath all this are some pretty goofy song concepts (witness “Sugar Buzz” or the nah-nahs of the album’s instrumental opener), it hardly matters. Few albums have such instant appeal or staying power (just try to forget “My Ship Is Coming In”). Still fewer are this much fun.

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