By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
If someone were to throw TMTS frontman Scott Reitherman an Oscar, it would be for best supporting actor. He and his band sound like a rom-com female lead's best friend—sweet, funny, endearing and completely non-threatening.
It begins with Reitherman's willowy tenor, which is nearly as airy and mannered as Stuart Murdoch's (Belle & Sebastian) with a hint of James Mercer's (The Shins) diffident, head-down croon. The band's 2008 debut, Moonbeams, glowed with lo-fi K Records innocence over tinny drum machine beats, jangly acoustic guitars, and moody, simmering keyboards—all performed by Reitherman. Now with a full band for the follow-up, Creaturesque, the sound's fuller and more polished.
While some may miss the raw, scrappy shuffle of the debut, it's hard to fault the warmth and plentiful hooks of the sophomore release. Propelled by a rubbery bass line, "Hi-Fi" channels Built to Spill, while the handclapping indie-pop paean "Dizzy From the Fall" apes The New Pornographers, and the swooning "Ancestors" brushes against the synth-driven shores of British new wave. It's all quite catchy, if a bit fey, and probably too familiar and accommodating for the frisson of true passion.
Similarly interesting touring pop outfits The Brunettes and Nurses open.