Following up a monster double disc is no easy task, but Montreal folkie Michael Jerome Browne tackles the problem with ease. This Beautiful Mess - the follow-up to last year's Double - is anything but disorganized, a collection of pristine-sounding folk, blues and pop.
There's a lot to like here: You Were Wrong, a raucous blues number about relationship woes; One Way Street, a slow, slide-filled adult contemporary track. The rest are clean, well crafted and, most importantly, catchy. As good as it is, Browne doesn't take a lot of risks. A lot of the tracks are straightforward, and the organ solos on the cheesy We All Need Some Love are a bit too Phish-like, but overall This Mess is one worth tending to.
Browne plays the Gladstone Hotel tonight (Thursday, September 18).