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Like so many before him, Travis Bretzer has honed his pop skills writing jingles for his local radio station. This fact will surprise no one who has the opportunity to soak in Bretzer's effortless, melodic guitar-pop. With this experience in commercial music and the success of fellow Edmonton, Alberta native Mac DeMarco informing the sonic shape of his tunes, Bretzer has crafted a smooth, lush collection of pop songs for his debut LP, Waxing Romantic.

Recorded in the spacious environment of Gary's Electric Studio in Brooklyn, Bretzer assembled a crack-team of musical cronies to help him realize his vision. With production from Jorge Elbrecht of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and contributions from James Richardson of MGMT and Regal Degal's Josh da Costa, Waxing Romantic is certainly not lacking in seasoned, acclaimed talent.

This fact reveals itself in the record's cohesive production style, creating an aural storybook of sorts. It is in this area that Bretzer truly excels, for the lyrical content drapes so perfectly around the sophisticated production that one can listen to this record either with carefree bliss or a keen ear for Bretzer's poetics. The latter is particularly enjoyable, as he is able to perform the nimble and delicate balancing act of delivering simple, sweet lyrics without coming off as saccharine.

Breezy lead single 'Promises,' with lyrics seemingly pulled straight from a late-night conversation between Bretzer and his lover, serves as a perfect model for what the rest of the record has to offer. Cascading guitars, tender drums and a hook that will worm its way into your head for days are all present and accounted for on this track. Elsewhere in the album, Bretzer and company wiggle in some nifty slide guitar arrangements on 'Lonely Heart' and keyboards that would feel right at home on a Michael McDonald record are scattered throughout the LP.

Bretzer's compositions do bear an uncanny and undeniable resemblance to that of his more-accomplished kinsman, Mac DeMarco. Like DeMarco, each track by Bretzer coasts in on a smooth sea of smoke emanating from the yacht's of soft rock inspirations like Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. Twinkling, jangly guitar riffs accompany light, funky bass licks and warm drums, making for mellow and melodic listening.

The main difference between the two lies in their production techniques. Whereas DeMarco constructs his records alone in his bedroom beneath a cloud of cigarette smoke, Bretzer has opted for the clean, polish of Gary's Electric. The resulting gap between their sounds can be described as such: if DeMarco is catching a ride aboard the sleazy, dirty dinghy floating in a pond of scum and muck, Bretzer is below deck on the cool, elegant yacht where his heroes reside, chumming it up with a drink in hand and a loved one by his side.

Comparisons aside, Bretzer's Waxing Romantic stands firmly as a lovely jaunt down lover's lane, complete with starry-eyed guitars and convincing, heartfelt proclamations of love. While it may not be the most unique or innovative record, Waxing Romantic is certainly sincere.

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