10 Songs, 32 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In a perfect world, “A Guide to the Outdoors” would be a staple on the best radio stations, its full-bodied acoustic guitars, reverberating bass, and barreling kick-drum whipping synths and strings into a soaring, exhilarating squall. Like much of Goodness Gracious — Chris Otepka/Heligoats' second effort since the demise of Otepka’s Troubled Hubble — "A Guide to the Outdoors" is a solid, airtight crafting of the best elements of pop music, devoid of any trendy trappings. This time around, Otepka utilizes Chicago psych-folkers Ulysses S. Grant in filling out his bittersweet, droll, and utterly engaging songs of longing, lust and bemusement at life’s turns, and there’s nary a misstep. Few bands know how to wield an acoustic guitar with the same sort of effusive agility and fierceness as Otepka does, and those imaginary, brave radio stations we dream about would play “Fish Sticks,” “Rubber Stopper” and “Heat Vents” til Otepka might retire from royalties.  Fans of Sea Wolf, Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel (for starters) should clasp Heligoats to their t-shirted chest and wonder what took them so long.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In a perfect world, “A Guide to the Outdoors” would be a staple on the best radio stations, its full-bodied acoustic guitars, reverberating bass, and barreling kick-drum whipping synths and strings into a soaring, exhilarating squall. Like much of Goodness Gracious — Chris Otepka/Heligoats' second effort since the demise of Otepka’s Troubled Hubble — "A Guide to the Outdoors" is a solid, airtight crafting of the best elements of pop music, devoid of any trendy trappings. This time around, Otepka utilizes Chicago psych-folkers Ulysses S. Grant in filling out his bittersweet, droll, and utterly engaging songs of longing, lust and bemusement at life’s turns, and there’s nary a misstep. Few bands know how to wield an acoustic guitar with the same sort of effusive agility and fierceness as Otepka does, and those imaginary, brave radio stations we dream about would play “Fish Sticks,” “Rubber Stopper” and “Heat Vents” til Otepka might retire from royalties.  Fans of Sea Wolf, Mountain Goats and Neutral Milk Hotel (for starters) should clasp Heligoats to their t-shirted chest and wonder what took them so long.

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