Matt Hires • This World Won’t Last Forever, But Tonight We Can Pretend • Atlantic Records • Producer: Eric Rosse • Score: 6 out 10
You may have already heard Hires’ recent four-song companion EP, but these tracks reappear on this bundle of poppy, sky-gazing meditations. Oddly, it’s the gooey, lovelorn ditties like single “Restless Heart” that prove least effective. Songs such as the album title’s inspiration, “Wishing On Dead Stars,” or the cryptic (and potentially baffling) “I Am Not Here,” best them by offering a heartbreaking counterpoint to the persistently sanguine, up-tempo arrangements. But it’s his caramel vocals spouting relentlessly catchy, clever wordplay that make this album soar. With major television placements to his credit and a style begging for mainstream consumption, Hires’ ascendance seems inevitable, yet the nagging sense we’ve traveled these musical highways before could prevent his career from reaching peak altitude.
- Andy Kaufmann