Since singer/pianist Ben Folds isn't dead, his ghost can't possibly hover over Highwaters EP, the latest from Boulder's Michael Lloyd Band. His influence is pervasive, though, and that turns out to be a mixed blessing.
"Sleepwalking," the opening track, serves as a template for the disc as a whole. Guitarist Jim Ruberto, bassist Jonathan Barkin and drummer Will Gaw supply a supportive backdrop for frontman Mike Ligouri's vocals, which he delivers with a slice of wry and his alternately rollicking and reassuring piano playing. The results are extremely listenable and perfectly pleasant, but they're more familiar than they need to be. Like "Wildfire" and several subsequent songs, the track expertly duplicates a long-established style that would feel fresher had it been given a new spin.
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Ligouri and his associates are clearly talented, as Highwaters indicates. Next time out, however, they should concentrate on developing a signature sound of their own instead of returning to the Folds.