The full-length debut of a project led by Literature singer/guitarist Nate Cardaci, Poised to Flourish puts a more focused new wave/sophisti-pop sheen on their own jangly, melodic guitar pop. A five-piece that also includes Literature's bassist and an early guitarist, unlike Literature it also has a dedicated synthesizer player. Calling themselves Très Oui, they formed after 2014's Chorus as an outlet for songs by Cardaci that he envisioned a bit differently. The difference fully embraces wistful extended chords, rhythmic bounce, and a version of romantic affection with reservations. Songs like opener "Looking For" also make judicious use of reverb, saving it for guitar passages or thematic bliss, rather than necessarily saturating the proceedings. Still, with its vibraphone-like bell tones, a hazier song like "Off the Rails" brings a dreamy energy that almost plays against its driving drums and syncopated bass and guitar lines. The sleepier but still melodic "One Track" offers a more deliberate shimmer, with indistinct layers of guitar, sustained keys, horns, and voice to close the song. The vast majority of the songs, however, recall names like Johnny Marr and Roddy Frame, with a spring in their step and an irrepressible sweetness to their demeanor. To quote one of the album's wall-to-wall inviting songs, "Don't be shy/Come say hi." While the band has its own energy, and Cardaci his own melodic tendencies, fans of the sounds of bands like Orange Juice, Aztec Camera, the Smiths, Prefab Sprout, or their disciples -- including Literature -- would do well to pay Poised to Flourish a visit.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson