Brendan Benson Lapalco

Though the key selling point for Brendan Benson lately has been the props Jack White has given him, you can't argue with Mr. White when he says Benson is "the best songwriter I've heard in so long." Lapalco, Benson's second album, is a breath of fresh air for anyone into sugary pop music. Benson has a certain way of making everything he writes sound pleasant and extremely, well, good. Opening track and first single "Tiny Spark" is a pop enthusiast's anthem. After one listen it won't come as a surprise that Jason Falkner co-wrote and produced it and four other songs on the record. Any fans of Falkner should have no trouble falling in love with Brendan Benson, and there isn't a bad song on Lapalco. "Folk Singer" is very reminiscent of the lost great Brit band Silver Sun, while "I'm Easy" is the Buzzcocks without the Mancunian accent. If there is one album to help your porch sitting in the sun this summer, Lapalco is it. (Star Time International)