Neo-pop songsmith Fernando Viciconte may have moved to Portland, Ore., but the ex-Los Angeles musician hasn't lost sight of his previous locales. Enter to Exit has a healthy SoCal vibe, from trumpet flourishes (think Brian Wilson) to country-rock touches (early Eagles) and lyrics evoking Southern Californian landscapes and history, such as boisterous and bopping opener “Howard Hughes,” buoyant beach town narrative “The Reluctant Deity” and short Spanish-language tidbit “Pasajeros.”

Keeping with his L.A. connections, Viciconte even includes the Eels‚ Derek Brown (drums) and Jeff Lyster (guitar). Viciconte is no Mark Oliver Everett, but he does share the Eels‚ love for arrayed pop arrangements, which gives Enter a confident focus, particularly during radio-friendly “My Magnetic Field” and Paul McCartney-ish, piano-pop nugget “From Now On.” Melancholy tracks like “Mariana” and “One Trick Pony” (not the Paul Simon hit) show Fernando's darker side, and help balance the album's overall tone.

Grade: B