Not everyone is able to remake themselves as thoroughly -- or as well -- as Warren Zanes did with his debut solo album Memory Girls, in which the rowdy roots rocker-turned-academic returned to music after a decade-plus layoff with a literate and richly melodic collection of songs in a variety of styles and moods. Zanes demonstrates that his impressive return to the recording studio was no fluke with his second solo set, People That I'm Wrong For, which is a slightly more streamlined but equally satisfying set. Zanes has a knack for writing smart but bracing pop tunes which have enough force to make them connect but plenty of open melodic space at the same time, and the mind-body balance of "Things Nobody Named Yet," "Ella's Arms," "Carrying Me/Carrying You," and "Fool the Moon" is impressive indeed. Zanes writes about relationships with the wisdom and experience of an adult, but his passion for the subject hasn't changed much since his days in the Del Fuegos, and his musical partners help him deliver the goods on this material (especially guitarist Daniel Tashian, bassist Brad Jones, and drummer Bryan Owings). People That I'm Wrong For was recorded in a mere five days, but you'd never guess that listening to it -- the songs are superbly crafted, the playing is tautly energetic and expert, the production is polished without sounding overly slick, and Zanes sings with commitment, authority, and heart -- plenty of people with months to devote to cutting an album haven't been able to come up with something as resonant and rewarding as this.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming