Edwin McCain’s latest, Lost in America, offers a rare experience for the listener: It’s a chance to hop into a tour van filled with a light-hearted, full-bodied band casually rolling across the nation. Unfortunately, the bouncy jazz-and-blues-infused pop-rock sights all seem to be giant marshmallows: repetitively sweet, very fluffy and altogether uninteresting in an album.

Jessica Boullion
Oh malaise. (Courtesy of Edwin McCain)

In casual taste, the lightness is not a completely unpleasurable experience. McCain’s title track, “Lost in America,” enters with a sort of happy-go-lucky feel. Starting hushed and electronically limited, the vocals fully break out in a booming summation of America: “the cars, the girls, the money, the drugs to get you out of your rut.”

The rollicking “Gramercy Park Hotel” captures this essence of casual listening. The effervescent guitar, slight taps of drummer Dave Harrison and subdued full-band sound (what Hootie and the Blowfish rode in on) combine with classic rambling lyrical laments (“Old Babe Ruth / He was a drunkard just like me / He lived it high and he lived it low / Stumbling down the New York streets”).

McCain’s range comes up a little short, though. The album is limited in span and is saltine-cracker dry – especially noticeable on the unintelligent track “Welcome to Struggleville.” In the same tiring vein, McCain is unabashed in his “Losing Tonight.” The tune establishes itself well with a poignant and reverberating slide guitar. But the track is over-run with clich

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