On his second solo album, singer/songwriter Todd Stadtman moves even further from the retro-futurist synth pop of his earlier band, Zikzak, into a timeless electro-acoustic sound beholden to no particular styles or time periods of pop music's past. It's not that Stadtman has created something entirely unique on Only I Can Save You -- fans of the Magnetic Fields in particular will find this album comfortably familiar -- but Stadtman's previous work has rarely sounded this self-assured. These 12 songs are as effortlessly catchy as those of pure-pop traditionalists like Fountains of Wayne ("I Don't Know Why She's Here" in particular is a small masterpiece), but Stadtman introduces plenty of oddball textures like the manipulated electronic voices that take the lead on "I'm Good" and neat arrangement touches like the horns that crop up occasionally on the appealing Barenaked Ladies-like bubblegum of "Talking Through My Mouth." Endearingly quirky and utterly charming, Only I Can Save You is a delight through and through.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason