Holopaw earned their indie-rock brownie points in 2001 for their involvement in Modest Mouse’s side project Ugly Casanova. On their self-titled debut, however, the Florida quintet crafts an inspired album of southern pop embers. All the necessary elements for the alt-country pigeonhole (mandolin, pedal-steel, slight vocal inflections) show up, but the band shows more versitality than that. Check the foggy keyboard swoon of “Hoover” or the funeral-march horns of “Cinders.” Among these, substantial pop instincts and impressive vocal harmonies announce the band’s undeniable songwriting talents. Even as the album loses momentum on the back nine, the quality of the arrangements and the striking ease of delivery keep engagement high. This band could have legs.

3.5 Stars

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