This Is War
Label: The Noise Company
He might be a wildly dressed, unassuming singer-songwriter, but there's a very valid reason why folks of every stripe fawn over Ben Kweller. While the Texas troubadour's voice is infused with a sunny sweetness, his subject matter -- especially here, on his third album -- is inevitably grounded by keen pangs of reality and longing. Kweller ties tight all his wry lyrical observations with strummy hooks that rely more on wits than volume (check especially the piano-driven "Thirteen"), yielding the kind of perceptive pop-rock that's easy to fall for.