This is the debut full-length release by Brooklyn-based Fred Thomas as City Center. Although this is his first solo project, Thomas is far from a newcomer to the scene. Rather, he has spent most of his life in search of the perfect pop music, first as the frontman/mastermind of Saturday Looks Good To Me, recording with His Name Is Alive's Warn Defever, as a member of Flashpapr, and now under the oddly-monikered City Center. Apparently the name comes from European tours where the "City Center" sign is such a regular (and reliable) sight, but it gives few clues to the unknown pleasures held within Fred's music. Taking cues from the skewed pop music of Arthur Russell on one side, and the most warped moments of Brian Wilson by way of Panda Bear on the other, Fred has channeled an outsider pop masterwork. Thick waves of decomposing electronics and processed instruments (is it gamelan? Is it something else altogether?) crash and fizz beneath Fred's multi-tracked echo/reverb-heavy vocals. Sandwiched in-between three-minute hazy a.m. pop marvels such as opener "Killer Whale" and the stand-out "Summer School" are extended ambient experimentations -- but unlike the occasionally academic workouts you might expect from Type, these feel organic and distinctly home-brewed. There is something raw and magical about Fred Thomas' musical creations -- exultant, far-away harmonies are buried under thick blankets of fuzz guitar, hand-bells, ambient hums and gentle acoustic guitar, and it all pulses with an animal warmth, like something that grabs you and won't let go. Pop music has rarely sounded quite so open-hearted.