Back Seats is a major leap forward for Bad Weather California, in terms of both music and songwriting. Chris Adolf has never sounded more confident or as much in his element as he does here, where the angst and emotional turmoil of the past is not as obvious as it was on earlier releases. With the masterful guitar riffs that run through "Again & Again," the band could be channeling Journey and the Cars, but dispensing with the cheese factor of the former and the angular melodies of the latter. "Keep It Together," meanwhile, has the richness and breeziness of Aztec Camera or the Cure. The wistful but urgent "About a Friend" sounds like what most surf rock could be with a little more imagination, while the title track is like 21st-century Van Dyke Parks teaming up with Kevin Shields. This is weirdo power pop coming back to us from the future.