Jim Button is one of Kansas City’s more melodically astute songwriters, employing adventurous chords and offbeat changes to conjure his own brand of ’60s-tinged guitar pop. But those who thought they knew Button may be surprised by his new foray as Continents. The sounds of the home-recorded project have a darker and more experimental tone, with songs that are more vignettes than traditional pop compositions. The tracks “A Lossless Dialog” and “All the Pale Shades” initially seem a bit shapeless (a feeling enhanced by canyon reverb and distant micing), but they’re undeniably pretty. Much of the album feels like waking up at the conclusion of a nice long nap: a pleasant yet somewhat disorienting sensation. Coupled with more conventional cuts — “Future Waves” (an Apples in Stereo-meets-My Morning Jacket sort of jam) and the syncopated “Be a Guide” (hey, it’s OK that we all sound like Vampire Weekend now and then) — Continents is a well-rounded offering from a songwriter who’s not afraid to mix it up.

Categories: Music