Domino - 2004 - 37 minutes

'All This Sounds Gas', Scott Kannberg's first album as Preston School of Industry, showed just how much his talents had been underused in Pavement. And the sonic weight for that argument just piles on with 'Monsoon'.

Whereas 'All This...' reworked songs left over from his Pavement tenure, here Kannberg starts from scratch, switches styles when the mood takes and delivers an album of compact charms.

Backed by Wilco and the Minus 5's Scott McCaughey, he pours life-affirming country, wistful pop and even a nod to his old band out of the speakers. But it's his way with guitar twang, as showcased on opener 'The Furnace Sun' and 'So Many Ways', that really stands out and points to more southern ways just waiting to be travelled. With the outlook this good, Kannberg should pack for the sunniest weather.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: The Furnace Sun - Walk of a Girl - Caught in the Rain - Line It Up - So Many Ways - If the Straits of Magellan Should Ever Run Dry - Her Estuary Twang - Escalation Breeds Escalation - Get Your Crayons Out! - Tone It Down