After spending most of his career in music making gentle indie folk under his own name and slightly weird indie rock with his band Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple takes a total left-turn on his fourth album, Good Mood Fool. Recorded at a cabin in upstate New York with help from Mike Johnson on drums and Eliot Krimsky on synths, the album casts Temple as a crooner who hovers somewhere between Steely Dan and Billy Ocean on the smoothness vs. soul spectrum. The music the trio crafts is sophisticated and funky in a plastic, soft rock kind of way. On top of chunky beats, fat synth basslines, and shimmery keyboards, Temple's gliding falsetto swoops and stings as he leads the way through tales of love and late nights. It's a stunning reinvention and everything Temple tries here works out just right. He turns out to have a real knack for writing these kind of sophisticated and strange songs, and his voice is perfect for them, too. The album alternates between slowed-down ballads that let him stretch his vocals into the realm of quiet storm serenading, midtempo grooves that will get hips moving and temperatures rising, and uptempo tunes that have some really nice machine-made new wave bounce. The best of the bunch, like the gently bubbling, music-biz referencing "Those Kids," or the island-tinged ballad "Terrified Witness'," are both instantly familiar and just weird enough to sound inventive. In fact, that's a trick the whole album is able to manage as Temple proves to be expert at conjuring up the past, then twisting it to his own devices. Temple is very good at indie rock, and his indie folk was always pleasant, but he seems to have found his true niche on Good Mood Fool, and it's his first album to carve out territory that is unique and truly interesting.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra