Hailing from Long Beach, CA, fielding hit the marketplace with this sweet and nicely crafted debut, on which they offer 39 minutes of perfectly pleasant and utterly forgettable guitar pop. Not quite tight and hooky enough to be memorable for its saccharine sweetness, but not rough enough around the edges to either catch or hold your attention, this is music that you'll enjoy in kind of an abstract way while driving or walking or attending to household duties. You won't sing along -- not because the songs aren't melodically attractive (they are), but because they're not melodically compelling. Nothing on this album will get your stomach roiled up or make
the hair on your neck stand on end. Singer Eric B. has a charmingly haphazard approach to melody, but on tracks like "Lampshade" or the slightly tipsy waltz "Big Surprise," you get the disconcerting feeling that he could actually hit the notes cleanly if he wanted to, and that his failure to do so is an affectation. Similarly, the band sounds as if it's playing beneath its abilities -- not so much keeping it simple as not trying hard enough. The best moments come when keyboardist Beth B.'s voice floats out of the background to join with Eric's, especially on the sad and lovely "All You'll Get." This is one of those albums that doesn't get a very high grade but can still be recommended to anyone who's in the mood for some nice, inoffensive alt-rock.