Ian Saint Pé's first solo effort was born in his log cabin home in Nashville with the backing of four musical friends. While it doesn't sound fundamentally different from the work of Saint Pé's previous musical venture, the Black Lips, Fixed Focus is more polished and less noisy than much of the music of the band he toured the globe with for a decade. Fixed Focus is like the house you move into after the house you live in during college. It's a little more grown-up, and you keep the carpet a little cleaner, but you're still going to rattle some walls.
Some of Fixed Focus is immediately catchy, like "Street Lights" and "Kiss It Goodbye," but the surprise highlight is "Southern Sunshine," a blatantly jangly ode to Southern living (Saint Pé was born and raised in New Orleans). Not every track is a winner—"Renowned Movement" is so Bob Dylan-ish it's distracting—but the album comes together as a solid solo debut by an experienced rocker.
Saint Pé plays Monk's Bar Fri., June 16, at 9 PM, along with Shahs and Tiny Plastic Stars.