Having transitioned somewhat from the Christian pop of his early work on 2010's What We Want, What We Get, singer/songwriter Dave Barnes keeps the secular but still spiritual pop rolling on his bright and romantic 2012 effort, Stories to Tell. These are effervescent, unceasingly optimistic, and infectious pop/rock songs that mix Barnes' acoustic sensibility with a slick, often dance-oriented studio vibe that still make room for a few country-inflected numbers. Vocally, Barnes has a yearning, burnished style perfectly suited for this contemporary pop material. To these ends, we get tracks such as the lead-off "White Flag" and "How Long," which sound a bit like a Jason Mraz crossed with '80s AOR hitmaker Steve Winwood. Elsewhere, the anthemic "Mine to Love," the moody "Seventeen," and the soulful ballad "Warm Heart in a Cold World" are passionate, well-constructed, and radio-ready contemporary pop songs.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar