I'm supposed to be typing words about Archer Prewitt, but all I can think about is Josh Rouse. Creepy little Josh Rouse, the exuberant American who reeks of desperation, whose recent records have been all about aping past pop styles and trying to impress the ladies, with any ideas of "artistry" squeezed out of the mix. But, damn it, the little-Nebraskan-that-could can write himself a pop song, that's for sure; he's able to work insidious melodies directly into your head. The contrast to Archer Prewitt, then, is whole. Prewitt is everything Rouse isn't: humble, generous, gentlemanly, of a decent stature, content to gently deliver his music in a bashful fashion. But, on his solo records, you find yourself longing for Prewitt to write that song, that instantly memorable number that bypasses your aesthetic appreciation and gets stuck in your head, the one that has you singing along rather than stroking your chin. Only he never gets there. His albums are grand and tasteful and beautiful, but never vital. They reward repeat listens, but never demand them. Prewitt is informed by those same '70s AM radio tendencies as Rouse, but he isn't obsessed with recreating authentic "tone," nor does he work with the sort of straightforward verse/chorus compositions that have long defined pop music. Having cut his teeth in Chicago's moist post-rock mouth first in the Coctails, then as guitarist for the Sea & Cake Prewitt is used to making things memorable via slow-building rhythm and repetition, and all the opulent strings, horns, analog organs, piano and pedal steel laid all over his fourth solo longplayer, Wilderness, don't make things more immediate. Of course, in saying such, I'm not necessarily delivering it as a condemnation. For all it lacks in the pop-song department, it's not a bad pop record; Prewitt makes another lovely album, in which his whispery voice and sad songs softly step through multi-part arrangements arranged gently around that compositional core, carefully dressed threads cloaking Prewitt's pale aesthetic in colors that don't clash, and fabrics that don't chafe.