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Painted Hills

Painted Hills
PARASOL

On their eponymous debut, Painted Hills revive the once-common but increasingly rare concept of rock band as singer/songwriter vehicle, as ex-Beachwood Sparks guitarist Josh Schwarz crafts effortlessly melodic, immensely likable pop gems throughout. Press surrounding the band (not to mention song titles like “Kaleidoscope Eyes” and “Stella’s Raga”) tends to oversell the band’s psychedelic leanings a bit — they’re there, but not especially pronounced. A better comparison might be a more Laurel Canyon-ish take on Teenage Fanclub, whose breezy power-pop echoes unmistakably through “The Sound & the Fury” and “Morning Light.” Elsewhere, the band channels top-flight influences to splendid results, from Jon Brion on “Knew That I’d Want You” to Neil Young (quite explicitly) on “Everybody.” Free of irony, pretense or posturing, Painted Hills is an excellent debut that whets the appetite for more of Schwarz’s winning power-pop.