Want to go on a road trip but don’t have time, funds, and/or a working vehicle? Put on Places We Used to Go. The newest full-length from JP bedroom pop auteur Doug Linse, Places is a potent mixture of grand gestures and lofi closeness, like a long sunset through a passenger-side window. Linse’s got a classic rig — drum kit, guitars, multi-tracked harmonies, the occasional burbly synth — and a brain tuned to classic alternative. In these ten songs, he uses these touchstones to conjure up aimless freedom, slow-burning contentment, and a generalized nostalgia for things personally unexperienced.
Opener “All Falls to Pieces” slips through the door, eases the engine over, and backs out of the driveway as purposefully and quietly as possible — hitting the road with a snare brush, basically. When the song crescedos five minutes in, you can almost see the dew streaming off the windshield. From there, we’re into the highway freedom of “Causeway,” which takes the album from 15 to 90 and veers into a piano-pounding bridge, a choral break, and an unexpectedly sweet acoustic closeout.
Other highlights include buzzy retro-ballad “Television Star” and slow-burning funk invocation “Happy?” — both take on well-trodden lyrical territory, but manage to leave behind shiny new oil slicks. Sometimes the best trips are the ones you already took.