This is a skillfully-played and well-written--but flawed--album by San Francisco band Tiny Little Blackouts. The instruments come together well, especially the Neil Young-style rhythm guitars (the opening track references "Down by the River"), and when the album demonstrates the band's strengths it is strong. The problems in the music presented here come from the fact that while the band has talent, they haven't quite developed their own voice and style; the songs are often too straight-forward--and occasionally aimless (the transition from verse to chorus on "Lamb44" does not go anywhere, and makes the song lose energy, for example, although the chorus itself is well-written)--and it would be difficult right now to distinguish their sound from many of their influences. It will be interesting to hear the band further develop their own style of chord progressions and for singer Cameron Ember to take her gift for melody in the direction she is headed with it, especially if she uses a wider and higher range of notes in her singing and finds her own unique tone.
The album is a good effort on the whole; the high points and best-written songs on the record are "Angry Santa," which has an excellent bridge (I'd be curious to hear a record by the band where all the songs were written at this level), and "You're too Nice," which is about the feeling that you've held onto your ideals when other people have long since profited by giving theirs' up, and has a real sense of vulnerability. 6/10 -- Jordan Anderson (28 April, 2010)