The second solo outing from Aussie songtress Sally Seltmann, the woman behind the curtain of Melbourne-based indie rockers New Buffalo, Hey Daydreamer starts strong out of the gate with its mellifluous title cut, a richly detailed, lightly kaleidoscopic confection that pairs the swingin' '60s chamber/psych pop of bands like Magic Theatre and the Mummers with breezy, Laurel Canyon-esque retro-folk-pop. It's not all steam-driven penny-farthings cruising through streets littered with broken lava lamps though, as Seltmann is first and foremost a confessional singer/songwriter, though one with a flair for pop artistry, and less fussy tracks like the lovely and heartfelt "The Small Hotel," the bouncy, bucolic "Holly Drive," and the stoic and superb closer "States and Spaces" drive that point home. Elsewhere, the surging country-rock splendor of "Needle in the Hay" occupies a far sunnier head space than the Elliott Smith song of the same name, layering a weepy pedal steel over a rolling, piano-led shuffle that's held together by Seltmann's plain yet magnetic voice, and the simple but effective "Right Back Where I Started From," with its beatific harp swells and deep, wordless howl of a chorus, impresses with its stately yet expansive atmospherics. Aptly named, Hey Daydreamer rarely steps down from the heavens above. When it does, as is the case with the cloying and a little too on the nose "Dear Mr. Heartless" and the weirdly tropical "Catch of the Day," the latter of which threatens to bust into Buster Poindexter's "Hot, Hot, Hot" at any moment (but thankfully never does), it's hardly a deal breaker, as Seltmann is such an engaging narrator and pop craftswoman that her occasional missteps almost never track mud into the room.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger