The second album for sweet-hearted, gap-toothed, diffident, frail-and-wailing Melbourne songsmith Paddy Mann deserves the kind of acclaim recently afforded to wussy Aussie folk like Sodastream and Art of Fighting. His quiet and soulful, achy-and-doleful odes to broken bones and sorrowful homes are played and recorded with a beauteous aesthetic and filled with a lamenting sense of heartbreak and loss. Less rambling and sketchy than his debut disc 16421727, the sounds on River Road are more concerned with straight-up prettiness; his instrumental interludes are more often than not played out on piano and string-quartet this time; the whole breathes with this attendant affection for tonal beauty and deliberate deliverance. Again, Mann's quiet, gently played tunes are filled with non-clichéd observationist images of the Australian environment, his yarn-spun glimpses of dried-out riverbanks and sunlight reflecting off gum leaves only used as colors on an emotional palette painting the country as an unending stretch of heartbreaking habitat, his habitués more often than not broken men seeking respite in an unforgiving land. If that conjures up any notions of Grand Salvo being grandiose in content, spirit, or musical delivery you can scratch such thoughts, straight-up. In detailing such desolation both emotional and environmental Mann keeps things achingly simple, his songs, as rudimentary, rattling odes, often kept to the barest of bones.