Coming of age in Edmonton, there must not have been much for young Travis Bretzer to do but listen to every record ever released on Captured Tracks, and maybe a few on Mexican Summer, the label that eventually signed him. That and do a little research into the bands that influenced some of the poppier artists on the label; bands like Orange Juice and Felt, for example. His first EP, Making Love, showed the results of his studies, sounding like a warped take on his influences. By the time of his first album, Waxing Romantic, Bretzer's music had taken a leap forward, both sonically and in the songwriting. With production help from Jorge Elbrecht of the band Violens, the album has a warm sound, filled with reverb and the kind of surprising musical moments (like the Felt-ish guitars on "Idle By" or the 10cc-ish keys on "Lonely Heart") that make the album really come to life. They also help to add a little weirdness to Bretzer's simple and true love songs. He's an unabashed romantic and the music has an expansive quality that is both welcoming and comforting. There are no rough edges, but the depth of the sound and Bretzer's direct and honest singing and words keep things from being too soft. Plus, there are a ton of flat-out great pop songs on Waxing. Cherrypick "Lady Red" or "The Bread" for your next romantic mixtape and you'll have a winner on your hands, grab "Story Book" or "Wishing Away" when you need something to relax your body and soul, or turn to "Promises" if you feel like they just don't write 'em like that anymore. They do, and Bretzer's output here is proof. Waxing Romantic is an impressive blend of top-notch songwriting, inventive production, and strong performances, the kind that vaults Bretzer to the same lofty heights of his influences.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra