It’s as though Walker produced enough nubile-divas-of-the-week (Katy Perry, Lindsay Lohan, Pink, Avril Lavigne) to want his own shot at the charts. Walker follows 2006’s (Lohan-inspired?) glammy power-pop paean to Hollywood decadence and excess, The Rise & Fall of Butch Walker and the Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites, with a break-up album touched by ’70s soft rock and polished enough to reflect Jason Mraz.
Sycamore Meadows lingers like a hangover, from aching, acoustic, moving-out ode “Here Comes the…” to nightlife celebration “Ponce De Leon Ave.” — which drops the Atlanta thoroughfare into Chicago’s horn-driven Wonder-Bread soul — and swelling, ah-soaked, sad-sack piano ballad “Ships in a Bottle,” in which Walker capitulates, “if you miss it again, I’ll be around.” Walker out-emotes the current crop of triple-A pretenders with surprising ease, and pushes it over the top with the crisp, catchy pop sensibility that’s been his calling card since his “Freak of the Week” days in Marvelous 3.
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