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After four albums with the mesmerizing L. A. combo Grant Lee Buffalo, frontman Grant-Lee Phillips steps out on his own for Mobilize, an album of modest, acoustic-based symphonies of concentrated power. Lyrically, the disc finds Phillips in searching mode, as he travels across the country in "America" and questions his motives on "Humankind": "And the point of my life is what/What if it doesn't add up," he muses. Easing the journey are his casual melodies, which flow with grace and ease, and the cushiony, keyboard-filled instrumentation -- all played by Phillips -- behind his subtly emotive vocals and plaintive guitar strumming. Although the mood remains relatively subdued and meditative throughout, Phillips weaves in a potent glam-rock thread, evident in crunchy guitar leads on songs such as "We All Get a Taste" and his sweaty, Bowie-esque vocals on tracks like the shuffling "Spring Released." He's also got a flair for the dramatic -- what do you expect from the guy who plays the town bard on the youthful TV drama Gilmore Girls and has scored for both the big and small screen. This gift he shares on the title track's war tale and the storylike "Beautiful Dreamers." As did fellow Angeleno Aimee Mann on Bachelor No. 2, Phillips has made a quietly stunning, very personal, lushly melodic album that highlights his most valuable resource: his winning songs.