The homespun 60s-ish cover of “Swallowing the Sun” promises folk-rock and gentle melodies, and Steve Robinson, an English folkie who has spent two decades in a US band (The Headlights) and touring with Roger McGuinn, delivers on those promises. On his aptly named Sunshine Drenchy Records, he delivers eleven ear worms of folk-rock or folk-pop , all of them instant lockdown companions. Dave Gregory, one of my heroes from XTC, adds stunning guitar on two songs, especially impressive on “Needle in the Red,” a lustrous song of despair. So many blessed associations whizzed around my sonic mind as I basked in this stellar album—Wesley Stace, late-season Jayhawks, Elliott Smith, even the Microphones—all of them smart yet eschewing fat production. Highlights include the deliriously joyful “Dizzy Love Song,” sun drenched indeed; the Beatleesque “Mr Empty Head”; and “Milk and a Dash,” straight out of my 1960s and with a memorable chorus of “memories make us, then they take us down.” Swallowing the Sun seems certain to register in my top albums of 2021.