Bad Weather California

Standing out above the army of acoustic-guitar-wielding singer-songwriters, Chris Adolf of Bad Weather California has a way of mesmerizing a crowd. In the studio, he loses the benefit of his magnetic stage presence, but he gains the freedom to build and arrange. Young Punks, his outfit's latest effort, starts off strong with a reggae lilt and a lo-fi feel, sounding at times as if it were recorded live — room reverb abounds. Surprisingly, this approach works, primarily because Adolf's arrangements can be so lush that slicker production might be overkill. The overall effect is one of authenticity — and while the album's second half isn't as strong as the first, at its best Young Punks is captivating.

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