Richard Davies' pursuit of poetic, heartfelt songwriting began in Australia with the Moles who, after releasing their fourth critically acclaimed record in 1996, disbanded. Davies pulled roots and relocated to New York City to pursue a solo career, eventually settling in with Oregonian Eric Matthews to form the band Cardinal. With the help of Matthews' production skills and his enthusiasm for complex, elaborate orchestrations, Davies' songs found a mature and more sophisticated timbre. On his own again, Davies returns with engagingly simple -- yet sonically complex -- fits of pop melancholia, adding sparse piano and strings to the standard guitar, bass, and drums contingency. Lush, complex vocal harmonies swoop in and out to emphasize Davies' heady verses, and sauntering rhythms offer all the time in the world to think about them. The end product is beautifully melodic, sometimes tragic, music and lyrics that require a little mental investment.