As evidenced by his debut Nighttiming Jason Schwartzman's Coconut Records is in the grand tradition of one-man band pop albums, a largely solitary affair in the spirit of Todd Rundgren, Stevie Wonder, and Prince that doesn't necessarily sound like any of those rockers yet shares a similar sense of eccentricity and, more importantly, melodicism. Schwartzman's gift for a persuasive hook is what ties Nighttiming together when it teeters between incandescent pop and halting introspection, but that flittering incoherence is its charm: Nighttiming has both sides of the one-man band mad genius, the pop maverick and the sensitive diarist spilling his soul onto the page. When things gets slower, Schwartzman can sound like a less haunted Elliott Smith, capturing a shimmering gorgeous sadness but never quite sliding deeply into sullenness, but he shows more imagination when he swaps an acoustic for an electric guitar or a piano, knocking out terrific power pop like "Back to You," where the guitars are loud enough to earn the cheekily overdubbed applause that concludes the song. Schwartzman also reveals a knack for re-creating certain '70s sounds -- "West Coast" floats on a warm melancholy evoking latter-day Beach Boys, "Nighttiming" cleverly reworks disco-rock, "Minding My Own Business" has the big, open spaces of ELO -- but these aren't exercises in clever hipster revivalism, there's a real joy in these songs, helping to buoy Nighttiming through its melancholy moments and indicating the depth and skill Schwartzman has a pop songwriter.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine