Ken Stringfellow

Ken Stringfellow, one-half of power-pop duo The Posies and sometime stringer for R.E.M. and Big Star, steps out with his sophomore solo set, the aptly titled Soft Commands. Sensual and sublime, the songs are dominated by mellow, doe-eyed reflection and wistful sentimentality. There's the shimmering, seductive "Known Diamond," more a waltz than a rocker. "Je Vous En Prie" sways like a torch song in a smoky European cabaret. "Cyclone Graves," with its soothing refrain, provides an optimistic entry: "I hope you never go blind/I hope you're more than just kind." An ideal soundtrack for lazy Sunday mornings, these sensuous melodies remain elusive yet still intriguing.

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Lee Zimmerman