Ben Lee’s never made any secret of his fondness for the warm and fuzzy side of Evan Dando’s Lemonheads pop. Even the melancholy tunes on Lee’s 2005 disc Awake Is the New Sleep — the album he recorded after his break-up with Claire Danes — weren’t without hope. And it was dominated by upbeat tracks like “We’re All in This Together,” which reflected his idea of a dream world, one in which everyone smiles into the sunshine and sings bright pop songs about happiness and finding friends in strangers. With his sixth solo disc, the Aussie singer-songwriter seems hell-bent on making that a reality. The joky throw-away “What Would Jay-Z Do?” is the only track that seems out of place among bright, hooky, optimistic songs like the summery love tune “Birds and Bees,” which pairs Lee with Mandy Moore, and the innocent ode to one-night stands, “Sex Without Love.” By the end of the 13-track disc, Lee’s unwaveringly hopeful message starts to sound preachy. But if it works for him, well, maybe he’s onto something.
Ben Lee + Cary Brothers + Kate Voegele | Middle East downstairs, 480 Mass Ave, Cambridge | November 21 | 617.864.EAST