Of the mid-‘90s VH1 staples to persevere into this millennium, Glen Phillips, the former frontman of Toad The Wet Sprocket, has done perhaps the least to overhaul his sound. While Green Day turned into critical darlings with a modern rock opera, Nada Surf successfully found indie-pop credibility, Jewel undermined her attempt at ironic dance-pop by licensing it to an irony-free razor commercial, and Hootie & The Blowfish took their frat-boy rock in a country direction, Phillips’s third solo album, Mr. Lemons, keeps to the same brand of melodic, pleasant adult pop that has kept Toad The Wet Sprocket’s minor-hit singles “All I Want,” “Fall Down,” and “Walk On The Ocean” alive on recurrent playlists for over a decade now. While Phillips’ songwriting—given a hand on a few tracks by the phenomenal Kim Richey, herself a few years overdue for a new album—and his lithe vocals keep Mr. Lemons a cut above, say, Edwin McCain’s Lost in America, the latter half of the album does succumb to a few too many soundalike ballads. The stronger first half is bookended by jangly lead single “Everything But You,” which should rightfully earn some AAA airplay alongside Ben Harper and KT Tunstall, and an unrecognizable, melancholy cover of, of all things, Huey Lewis & The News’ “I Want A New Drug.” If there’s nothing particularly innovative or spectacular about it, Mr. Lemons is at least agreeable for Phillips’s lack of pretension and his strong ear for a melodic hook.
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