Maypop, the outfit formerly captained by West Palm singer/songwriter Keith Michaud, wore out its welcome after a couple of years. The group¹s comfortable emo respectability left it with little to distinguish itself from the pack of SoFla peers. Michaud¹s new project, Summer Blanket, is much more complex and tougher to pigeonhole. Crisply melodic and largely acoustic, Summer Blanket makes just-this-side-of-precious soft rock, mellow but rarely wimpy. Michaud¹s stylistic progress is admirable. His songwriting has grown in confidence, which is revealed in solo tunes like the near-perfect ³Progress/Progression.² But when he enlists help from his friends, Summer Blanket¹s pretty patchwork really comes into its own. In particular, ³Harm, Less,² with its spiraling tufts of gentle keyboards, glockenspiel, bass, and 12-string guitar, is strikingly attractive. These sharply focused compositions, fleshed out with contributions from Chris Moll (See Venus) and Matt Cohen (Whirlaway), indicate just how far Summer Blanket has risen above its chosen genre.
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