Back Up Again

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Arkansas native Brian’s selftitled 2003 debut, including the Top 10 hit “99.9% Sure (I’ve Never Been Here Before),” was striking but a tad too slick and polished. That problem is nicely rectified on his belated follow-up, Back Up Again, one of the year’s more pleasant surprises. The difference seems to be Brian himself, who wrote many more of the tunes and produced the album himself this time around. The result is an effortlessly likeable, action-packed sophomore effort that’s both stripped-down and radio-ready, shot through as it is with hummable choruses and Brian’s own seemingly tireless spark-plug energy.

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