On the trio's major-label debut, songwriter Ben Folds' piano-driven alterna-pop tunes recall the shiniest moments of Burt Bacharach, Elton John, Todd Rundgren and other '70s pop giants. A little grit makes it rock, while Folds' warped lyrics provide the irony that keeps it all fun. Play this swinging stuff in elevators and doctors' waiting rooms, and the world would be better off. The group appears with Counting Crows at Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre on April 5.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).
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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips