Dent May isn’t shy about his love for Brian Wilson. On 2012s Do Things he showed a knack for creating a musical gumbo that was equal parts Beach Boys and Animal Collective. It was an interesting, and at times quite pleasant listening experience. Having been signed to Paw Tracks the Animal Collective beats and quirks were understandable. But for a guy that was known as Dent May and his Magnificent Ukulele before going with just his name the Pet Sounds sounds were surprising. Dent May has returned from wherever he was hanging out and writing more pop confections and gives us Warm Blanket. Like the title suggests, this is an album of warm, gooey pop tracks that are sure to warm you up from the inside out. The Animal Collective mannerisms pop up here and there, but for the most part this is a straight up pop record that makes no qualms about its unabashed love of AM Gold, honey-sweet sentiment, and even the occasional f-bomb.
“Turn Up The Speakers” brings to mind a young-ish Harry Nilsson and his “Turn Up The Radio”, albeit a truncated version at just over a minute long before “Let Them Talk” comes in and says throw caution to the wind. A sassy little number about not caring who knows who he’s in love with. “I thought about it a million times and I still don’t give a ****/Let them talk” May sings over booming drums and a funky guitar line. There’s still those Panda Bear mannerisms in the whooshing synths, but for the most part Dent May seems pretty solid in his own footing. “Born Too Late” has a disco beat and hand claps, bringing to mind Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More”. Don’t let that scare you off as it’s great song, and filled with Brian Wilson-lamenting about wishing you were older than you were. “I can’t explain but I’m at that age/I’m born too late”, May sings as the beat goes on. “Yazoo” is a lilting ballad, while “Corner Piece” brings to mind late-80s/early 90s Adrian Belew. “Do I Cross Your Mind” is the highlight of the album. A beautiful, melancholy song that is reminiscent of Harry Nilsson and Randy Newman’s Lenny Waronker-produced albums. It also has some Dr. Dog qualities with it’s guitar harmonies. “I was so ordinary till you came around/I had not learned to deal with thoughts that kept me down” May sings over a song crossed with Memphis soul, Brill Building pop sheen, and a sadsack quality even Elliot Smith would’ve approved of.
Warm Blanket is song after song of pop hooks, peppy beats, and at times a maudlin feel that never brings you down more than makes you sigh as you stare off into the distance. “It Takes A Long Time”, “I’m Ready To Be Old”, “Found A Friend”, and “Summer Is Over” all evoke a feeling of longing. A feeling of “What if?” These songs are about searching. Searching for love, acceptance, and an ear or two that’ll listen. Dent May wears his heart on his sleeve once again, and it’s a good look for him.
8.2 out of 10