“Warm Blanket” by Dent May
With his third full-length release, Mississippi songwriter Dent May completes his transformation from a Stephin Merritt-like twee crooner (with a magnificent ukulele in his arms) to a true impresario of orchestrated, yet charmingly introspective pop. And if you ask me, that’s a very positive change; May’s original shtick, as well as the synth-based indie tunes that followed, were cute but limiting; adopting the vocabulary of pop auteurs (think Wilson, McCartney, Rundgren) makes him truly shine as a musician and lyricist.
As a testimony to this, Warm Blanket is filled with hook-infested, beautifully-arranged numbers about love, the passing of time, and a combination of the two. For a man of 27, May seems unusually preoccupied with thoughts of growing old and missing out on things. One of the reasons Warm Blanket works so well though is that he juxtaposes these serious concerns with funky, sunshiny music so heavily rooted in The Beach Boys. First single “Born Too Late” captures the spirit of the album perfectly: with his distinctly “old” voice, this young guy makes the sounds of ‘60s and ‘70s pop fresh again, and oh-so-quirky and fun.