Mark Mulcahy

In Pursuit of Your Happiness

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Despite the distinction of having fronted Miracle Legion, singer/songwriter Mark Mulcahy hasn't had an easy time carving out an identity for himself as a singer/songwriter. But with In Pursuit of Your Happiness, the guy has assured listeners he clearly deserves it. It's not the cast of high-profile guests (Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis plays drums while Joey Santiago of the Pixies contributes French horn) that's yielding him praise -- it's all these great experimental pop songs. The title cut is a reflective, Farfisa-laden peculiarity, while "A World Away from This One" is a soft ballad with a gentle croon. Elsewhere, Mulcahy offers Nilsson-like drama on "Be Sure" and melodic stripped-down winners like the heartfelt "Cookie Jar." Balancing the warmth of the latter with the alluring and airy pop shuffle of "I Have Patience" -- complete with lines like "The things I love I don't enjoy/The things I want, I want to destroy" -- is pretty darn complicated. Mulcahy makes it all seem easy.

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