Although rooted in the San Francisco indie pop scene -- members of the Aislers Set, Track Star, and Imperial Teen all lend a hand -- Doug Shepherd favors a more gentle, wistful approach to the sly ebullience of his compatriots. Mass Amount of Love is a singer/songwriter record in the classic sense, a literate, heartfelt collection of acoustic melodies and intimate lyrics, albeit topped off baritone vocals suggesting a slightly more tuneful Calvin Johnson. What sets Shepherd apart is the ambitiousness of his songcraft -- the opening "Postcard From Everett Ruess" imagines the modern world through the eyes of the famed lost adventurer, while "Anorexic Complex (Sasha's Theme)" imagines the horrors facing Russian anarchist Alexander Berkman during his sentence on Riker's Island. Hardly your standard pop music fare, and all the more alluring for it.
Review by Jason Ankeny