Michael Leviton

My Favorite Place to Drown (Ace Fu/Smith Street)

Michael Leviton
Many fey indie boys have a deep-down longing to write the next Great American Torch Song, but who's dreaming of it while rocking a ukulele? Only Michael Leviton.

A native Californian, Leviton fled to Brooklyn, but never ditched his childhood dreams of crafting a soundtrack to a fuzzy image of soft waves hitting sandy shores below a beachside supper club -- like a long-lost '40s postcard from Hawaii.

While his notions of Tin Pan Alley mostly come from Bugs Bunny cartoons, Leviton shows a fine grasp of the wistful, sepia-toned air of classic romantic tunes, adding hints of slide guitar and cello to set the mood. Lyrically, he offers heartbroken humor with a modern twist: "Must you always play the glacier, must I play Titanic?"

The languid love songs, mostly featuring ukulele and voice, get a little droopy ("For Lydia"), until "If Sense Were Really Common" enlivens matters with a less traditional melody, "The Glanis Fish" delivers jarring distorted guitar breaks, and the final song, "Common Sense," hulas with the ghosts of scraggly '80s college pop. Sure, there's kitsch afoot, but many a sad sack could succumb to the charms of My Favorite on a warm summer night.

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