JOSH ROUSE 1972 (Rykodisc) Rating: NNN
Unabashedly retro, Josh Rouse's 1972 is a sparkling set of funk-lite folk rock that shimmers with that warm, old-school California pop feel. Think the huggy-bear quality of James Taylor or Carly Simon with the vocals brushing right up against your ears, AM-radio mono-quality horns and sunny strings, and Everyman tales delivered in matter-of-fact storyteller fashion. Rouse has the terrific ability to channel a decades-old genre without sounding like an unoriginal retro-retooling loser. He's got the songwriting chops to transform a dated vibe into fresh contemporary pop. But there's still something about this disc that has a slight whiff of kitsch, like the soundtrack for an Old Navy commercial or the Welcome Back Kotter theme song.
Check out Josh Rouse at the Horseshoe this Wednesday (October 15).