Jason Falkner's excellent third solo release may be subtitled The 4-Track Years, but that doesn't mean the album is a mishmash of throwaways and unfinished filler. On the contrary, even when his songs are "all crackly and intimately recorded in various apartment-bed-living rooms" -- as the liner notes describe the album's demos and rarities -- Falkner plays pristine power pop that's radio-ready from the get-go. From the opening Matthew Sweet-styled "She's Not the Enemy" to the closing "I Go Astray," the ex-Jellyfish member doesn't let a single dud creep onto Necessity. His are songs that jingle-jangle like Sloan and resonate with the emotional weight of Michael Penn. And while nearly half of these songs are original versions of previously released songs, consider their inclusion less a lazy way to fill the album's 45-minute running time than a closer look into Falkner's superb songwriting. After all, when someone's odds 'n' ends are better than many musicians' final polished products, listeners should be so lucky as to acquire them.
Necessity: The 4-Track Years Review
by Jimmy Draper