Madi Diaz is like the Wade Boggs of pop/rock; her songs never swing for the fences, but they always seem to connect. Last time she released a full album, Diaz was an alt-country newcomer doubling as a young college student. This time around, she's a mid-twentysomething road warrior with years of practice under her belt, and Plastic Moon feels tighter, tauter, more cohesive than most sophomore records. Diaz's voice is the best thing here -- it sighs over the melodies one minute and holds long glory notes the next -- but her songwriting keeps the album afloat, running the gamut from lush country balladry ("Love You Now") to heartland rock ("Gimme a Kiss") to slaphappy indie pop ("To Be Alone"). And then there's "Johnny," a modern-day interpretation of the mid-century "teenage tragedy" musical craze that spawned "Leader of the Pack" and "Teen Angel." In Diaz's update, the male character heads off to a street race in the rain, ignoring his lover's pleas to stay at home. The story never gets resolved, but that hardly matters; we've forgotten about Johnny by the time Diaz sings the first chorus in that siren-like voice of hers. This is radio-minded music shot through with enough quirks to keep it unpredictable and constantly interesting, and while Diaz definitely gets some help along the way -- Kyle Ryan deserves special kudos for his songwriting help and sharp, economical guitar riffs -- Plastic Moon still serves as a showcase for her considerable talents.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey