Dent May - Do Things (Paw Tracks) 

A guaranteed good time with more than one direct hit

If you never heard The Good Feeling Music of Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele, you missed a delightfully oddball pop debut, but you won't necessarily feel left out of the sequel on which May drops the uke and concentrates on the essence of his gifts. It's pop song idiosyncracy writ large in the grand tradition of Neil Tennant (there's even a song about rent money!), Stephin Merritt, Robert Schneider and Jonathan Richman, an indulgent exploration of the architecture of the hit within music too eccentric to make yearned-for radio waves.

The range is head-spinning even if May's guardedness balks at sincere appreciation: sultry electrified Beach Boys, Squeeze-vintage power pop, George McCrae synth-disco, and tongue-in-cheek slow jams all share the space. Beyond the elaborate, busy arrangements, the record's a guaranteed good time because of May's voice —disarming and wonderful at all times, but especially when he drops the costuming and scores a direct hit like "we don't want to be just like our parents" or, more pertinently, "In another lifetime I was real shy/So this time around I think I'm gonna get down to the ground."

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More by Nathan Phillips

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