Label: Frenchkiss Records
Ten years since the dawn of the neo-confessional acoustic guitar hero, Meric Long's songwriting looks beyond the narrow borders of the post-Bright Eyes wuss-rock for a broadly emotional, refreshing second release. The ballads are simply crushing; "Walking" and "Ashley" exploit rough arrangements of guitar and percussion to recall four-track Elliott Smith. Even when things get a bit precious, like on "Undeclared" (his love, that is), Long's charms get him off the hook. All told, an immensely capable album.