Andrew Collberg treads common ground among artists such as Harry Nilsson, Nick Drake and José González. The 22-year-old local singer-songwriter—born in Sweden and raised in New Zealand and Tucson—has released his second album, and it's a subtle killer, brainy and sophisticated, but never pretentious. Although it doesn't at first seem to rock out, it asserts its brawn on subsequent listens.
Although he played most of the instruments on his 2006 debut (which followed two self-issued releases), Collberg enlists several well-respected local musicians—guitarist Connor Gallaher, bassist Ian Stapp and drummer Arthur Vint—to assist in this recording, which he has produced in collaboration with Nick Luca.
The album begins with the immediately appealing "Clouds of All Your Rain," which seems to effortlessly find the right blend of chiming twee-pop and substantial folk-rock. Old-school Tucson music buffs will discover with "Clementine" that Collberg's music favorably can be compared to the melodic garage rock of 1980s band River Roses. "To the Road" uses shambling roots-rock boogie, not unlike that of The Band, as the foundation for a disarming melody and lo-fi charm, à la Elliott Smith. A notable highlight is the dreamy, psychedelic masterpiece "Man in the Moose Suit."
This is a terrific album in which you can immerse yourself, soaking up the melodies and Collberg's earnest upbeat sentiments.