Big Bad Zero: Your Beautiful Mistake (iPlay Records)

While the first album was talented but a bit inconsistent as it switched between mellow and raucous, the new disc is a straightforward alt-rock masterpiece, an early album-of-the-year contender.

When they write the story of my life, I’ll be most concerned about the soundtrack rather than the actress they choose to portray me. The music sticks with you long after those faces have disappeared; the songs keep you company when your friends no longer come around. If I had to choose only one album for my soundtrack, it just might be this one.

Your Beautiful Mistake is the follow-up to this Las Vegas band’s 1999 self-titled debut. (If you’re a 93X fan, you’ve undoubtedly heard the breathtaking “Iris Meadow.”) While the first album was talented but a bit inconsistent as it switched between mellow and raucous, the new disc is a straightforward alt-rock masterpiece, an early album-of-the-year contender.

Lead singer Nick Matteira’s distinctive nasally voice is complemented by the backdrop of swirling and melodic guitars. “I’m tired of being restless/living off espresso and singing to my windshield,” he sings on the opening track, “Lifts Me Up,” and we’ve all been there; we know that feeling. On “Closer,” an upbeat song of dreams, he’s imagining “the day I’m dancing/the world’s in my hands.” “Just Like That” is a beautiful, building song about the abductive powers of love: “You’re my savoir when my thoughts spill/like a pain pill/you’re the only thing familiar.”

Guitarist Dave Meeks’ gentle strumming begins “Unglued,” as drummer Rob Whited and bassist Doug Barney keep a mellow but steady beat. “Comets” is a reach-for-the-stars song, perfect for that scene with the drive down back country roads at night in a top-down convertible. Look for a searing guitar and drum changeover on “Level.” And that part of the film where I’m soul-searching? Definitely “Blind,” with its driving beat and introspective lyrics: “I need to take some time/see the world that is mine/with these eyes so blind/so much to find.”

On “Not so Good” a Sunday afternoon song of breakup, Matteria sings, “I hope that you’re better than me/’cause I’m not so good,” further demonstrating his strong vocal ability. The downbeat is quickly reversed, though, as “Wrap the World Around Me” wraps its arms around you. The closing credits—and happy ending, of course—would roll over the invigorating “Angels,” with Matteria asking, “Who do you talk to when you fall asleep?”

This is what feel-good music is all about: words you can sing along to, emotions you can feel, and music that touches the core of who you are.

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