Audio Mixer: Patrick Jones .
South Carolina native Keath Mead is a self-taught musician, and from the sound of his debut album, Sunday Dinner, his education included lots of '70s soft rock, '90s power pop à la Teenage Fanclub, and 2000s chillwave. That last influence may be thanks to producer Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, who not only twirled the knobs but helped out with playing the music, too. The duo has crafted an unassumingly nice debut album, full of laid-back charm, pleasant hooks, and an overall feeling of peace and ease. Mead's songs are built around simple chord changes, the instrumentation is mostly sparse, and there's a calming little glaze of reverb and chorus over everything. This production trick means that even the most uptempo songs, like the rollicking "Change" and "Navy," are rounded off and easy to swallow. Mead's voice is well suited to these tracks, but his sweet crooning sounds best on the melancholic midtempo tracks that sound like Teenage Fanclub album tracks, specifically the ones penned by Gerald Love. The lovely "Grow Up" is the best of these, with "Waiting" not too far behind. Mead and Bundick work hard to make these songs sound like they were beamed through time and space straight from the world of '70s AM gold, picking up a few bits of dust and atmosphere along the way. There are also a couple of tender acoustic ballads to express some emotional (and sonic) range, and a track that swipes the riff from "Sweet Jane," twists it a few times, and ends up sounding like some kind of cosmic soft rock meets disco dream. It's a promising debut that doesn't skimp much on melodies or emotion, and while it might have been interesting to hear a few songs that took a step outside the comfortable bubble of sound the duo creates, what's here makes for a very rewarding listen that's always warm and very, very comforting. ~ Tim Sendra