Snow Tires
(A Hidden Agenda/Parasol)

No prizes for guessing which particular musical icon, Jarid del Deo draws inspiration from. The threadbare nasal vocals, the rustic charm, the melancholy perspectives all point to Neil Young and by that token calls to mind, such Young acolytes as Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle – which is just fine in my book.

The languid strength and intensity that permeates Snow Tires is unexpected maybe but reflects positively on del Deo’s undeniable ability and talent.

Concentrating on low profile, heart-on-the-sleeve musings that touches on regret and loss, Snow Tires is a masterpiece of mood and atmosphere, with a tingling majesty conveyed primarily by acoustic guitar and voice with the occasional string embellishment.

Thus, songs like the sad “I Knock Things I Haven’t Tried,” the defiant Lennonesque “Pink Lemonade,” the fragile “Casserole” and the contemplative “Nightwalking” will tug at heart strings and may bring tears to eyes without ever descending into manipulative sentimentality.

And as the title track slowly but surely floats into your sub-consciousness unaided, there’s no mistaking the feeling that somehow you touched hearts with del Deo without never quite understanding why or how. A+ www.parasol.com