I get the impression that this one landed in my inbox as a result of my prattling on about how great Ben Folds used to be. In my experience (which is admittedly limited owing to the fact that I live in England, where Folds-fans are comparatively thin on the ground) a shared enthusiasm for Whatever and Ever, Amen is a surefire way to get a free CD off someone. And in such cases what you invariably end up hearing is almost exactly what you'd expect: MOR piano-rock, with occasionally witty, somewhat acerbic lyrics.
LA based band Layabout are no exception. Perhaps lacking the depth and lyrical range of Folds himself, the Suburban Legend EP certainly delivers on an if-you-like-that-you'll-like-this level, whilst bringing enough new elements to the table to keep things interesting; they're coming at the formula from a somewhat "lounge" angle, if you get my meaning.
If I'm honest, Layabout are a bit too "smooth" for my tastes. I only like Folds when he displays a bit of biting edginess, and given the evidence here I'd say that Layabout haven't found that quite yet.
Layabout - Arms Around the City [audio http://www.layaboutband.com/av/arms_around_the_city_by_layabout.mp3]
You can hear a few more tracks and buy the EP from the Layabout website, but be forewarned: it's fully of clunky Adobe Flash.