Kelley Stoltz is in a ‘60s state of mind on his fourth Sub Pop record. Like his past albums, To Dreamers mixes endearing retro-pop pastiche with homemade production, a move that pays homage to Stoltz’s influences -- Ray Davies, Brian Wilson, Gene Clark, and other heavyweights from yesteryear -- without directly aping their sound. The guitar riffs are appropriately fuzzy but a tad messy; the harmonies are well-placed but imperfect. Stoltz is a vintage enthusiast, but he’s no copycat, and To Dreamers’ best quality is his ability to reinterpret those sounds for an audience weaned on lo-fi albums. “Pinecone,” with its woodwinds and jangled guitar chords, is the sort of British pop song that’s tailor-made for the lazy dog days of summer, while “Little Girl” bears the markings of a Nuggets inclusion. It’s far too easy to trace Stoltz’s songs back to the artists who inspired them -- there’s a Byrds tune here, a Paul McCartney song there -- but that seems to be the point, with Stoltz presenting himself as the ultimate pop music fan instead of the ultimate pop songwriter. Bonus: he covers Big Boy Pete’s “Baby I Got News for You,” with Pete Miller himself lending plenty of fuzz guitar to the version.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey