Former Windbreakers guitarist Bobby Sutliff sat out his musical career in the 1990s as he busied himself with marriage, child rearing, and a "real" job, but since the dawn of the new millennium he's seemed determined to make up for lost time. Perfect Dream is the third album to emerge from Sutliff's home studio since returning to action in 2000, and it's a lovely and graceful set of pure pop tunes dominated by his gently hooky melodies and incisive, chiming guitar work. While much of Perfect Dream sounds a bit gentler than the Windbreakers in their prime, Sutliff's melodic sense has thankfully changed very little with time, and his songs still maintain a thread of healthy cynicism lurking beneath their wistful surfaces, as well as possessing a musical sophistication that doesn't undercut his fondness for a hook you can hum along with. "The Kings of Flannel" is a witty look at a band not unlike the Windbreakers ("We were the Kings of Flannel/And all the critics knew our names/Never made a dime, but that's OK"), "Foot and Mouth" and "Lost My Way" suggest Sutliff is still in touch with his inner disappointed romantic, and for those folks who liked the sour of Tim Lee's songs as opposed to Sutliff's relative sweetness, Lee's "Kiss Me Goodbye" adds just the edge this album needs. And finally, Sutliff has matured into a gifted one-man band, handling all the instruments and production chores himself and sounding quite impressive on all fronts. Anyone in the market for some smart pop from (and for) folks who've moved past their thirties will find a lot to like and a good bit to relate to in Perfect Dream.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming