Matt Wertz

Under Summer Sun

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The fourth full-length album from singer/songwriter Matt Wertz, 2008's Under Summer Sun features more of the laid-back, heartfelt, adult alternative pop the Missouri native is known for. Oddly, just under half of the songs included here are carry-over tracks from Wertz' 2007 effort Everything in Between. In that sense, Under Summer Sun comes off as more of a relaunch for Wertz rather than a fully realized album unto itself. That said, tracks like "Everything's Right," "5:19," and "Carolina" do evince a kind of rootsy, soul-inflected folk-rock not dissimilar to artists like John Mayer, Jason Mraz, and others. Similarly, such mid-album moments like the slow ballad "I Will Not Take My Love Away" and the rousing and bluesy "Keep Faith" find Wertz revisiting his Christian-rock base and should please longtime fans. And despite its misguided electronica intro, the power pop infused "With You, Tonight" is a fittingly uplifting rocker that pleasantly brings to mind the Goo Goo Dolls. However, it's the blissed-out, '70s-centric midtempo title track "Summer Sun" that really grounds the album and brings to mind a perfect mix of Hall & Oates blue-eyed soul and America soft rock. Also, as it comes near the end of the album, if you glossed over the first half it just might be good enough to get you to spend a little more time under the sun.

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