Western Residents — Sunlit Nights 

Western Residents are an anomaly in that their first release, the earnestly delivered and judiciously crafted Sunlit Nights, sounds like the musical equivalent of a tattered wool blazer. They wear it well.

The Oklahoma City outfit has existed in some form or fashion for more than a decade, undergoing a bevy of name changes and lineup shuffles before settling as a four-piece in 2008. Given its background — and the fact that three of its members are fathers — the maturity exhibited on this debut album makes a lot of sense.

Its breezy, melodic guitar passages recall the kind of ’90s indie rock perfected by bands like The Sea and Cake and Archers of Loaf (an acknowledged influence), while on lead single and album highlight "Hockey League," electric strums glide atop the song's surface as a puck would. And like a puck, they're deceptively weighty and dense.

But where the album truly shines is through cleverly constructed wordplay, as co-vocalists/guitarists Barry Woody and Chris McMillin deftly yearn for an elusive relational truth over the course of eight songs. On "Overnight/Underground," Woody sings, "The sun is bound to surface now / Let it all leak out," and it's clear Western Residents found something in Sunlit Nights, even if they don't quite know it yet. —Zach Hale

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