Matt Barber is a super-smart guy. Choosing to work with ex-Transistor Sound & Lighting Co. member and Broken Social Scene's sound guy Marty Kinack, instead of Ian McGettigan on his full-length debut for Warner keeps Sweet Nothing from sounding like derivative, polished Canrock. Kinack has a sensitivity to small details - an echoing vocal in the lead-out from the rootsy Awful Dream, the languorous Love/Death's twittering video-game synth intro - that make Barber's well-constructed ditties surprising and listenable. Sonically, this is a solid, hooky album, full of crunchy Cars-ish power pop, slick Police-styled funk-rock and achy fuck-up songs. I wish the lyrics were half as clever - Barber's too smart to rely on inane moon-June (or in this case "two/loo") couplets.