Ba Da Bing!
Carefree, Devon Williams' debut album, has a melodic complexity that belies its immediacy, and descends from a lineage of great music. Those yearning for a return to intelligent pop music--songs as gratifying on their 1,963th listen as they are memorable after their first--need look no further. Over the course of a year and a half, Williams recorded at three different studios around Los Angeles, walking away with a handful of songs each time. Laying down multiple guitar tracks--making as many as ten different mixes for some songs--Williams scrutinized every moment to achieve his ideal sound. Songs such as "A Truce" or "Honey" presumably come from a lifelong fan of greats such as Nilsson and Chilton, Cope and Downes, Lennon and McLennan. However, Williams sports an unlikely background. While many people had a hyper punk band in their teenage years, the controversial Osker, a group formed when Williams was 16 years old, was signed by Epitaph Records. He quickly learned the benefits and dangers of the scene as he proceeded to kill punks' idols. As Williams grew up, the manic energy of Osker became less appealing than an expansive pop sound, so the band broke up. This led Williams to test new approaches, recording and touring in various setups before centering in on the sound that defines Carefree. Help from friends Allen Bleye and Greg Arnold, with whom he still plays, were key. Carefree should have seen release a year ago. However, before he finished mixing, Williams was contacted by his friend and...