Recorded in Scotland with producer David Scott (who also plays most of the instruments), No Frills Friend is a gem of despondent, shimmering pop/folk/rock balladry. "Thank God for the Wine" is a study in unique contrast, as it blends rich, languorous guitars with Patsy Cline's yearning country/torch sound, yet is driven along by crisp timekeeping. The girl-group evocation "Baby, You're the One" is an utter charmer, with its "Be My Baby"-style dramatic drum intro, perky handclaps on the bridge, background vocals packed with Noo Yawk street-corner 'tude, and an adorable cute-as-a-kitten chorus. With its swirling acoustic guitars, autumnal melody, and breezily propulsive drumming, "Pretty Things to Buy" sounds like it could be a lost slice of Paul Simon or Gordon Lightfoot '60s folk/pop melancholia -- and it contains a most incisive couplet: "All that waste of time/ Is what makes you sublime." Combining forlorn (but never sentimental or narcissistic) lyricism with smart, engaging songcraft, No Frills Friend is a well-nigh perfect pop confection -- it's excellent company for your misery on a gloomy Saturday.