Pale Hollow mastermind Michael Allen is a songwriter's songwriter. He's aware that a tune needs more than just a catchy chorus. And even though the hooks come fast and furious on Pale Hollow's debut, Allen builds on his acoustic skeletons with an array of instruments to form a melodic slice of pop rock. Pale Hollow was originally going to be a solo acoustic project, but Allen recruited some Detroit musicians to give the record a richer sound: The pedal steel in "Don't It Leave You Lonely" and the tuneful electric guitar of "Gustav's Dream" enhance the songs without obscuring their hooks. Allen has since teamed up with local guys and performs around town as the Black Amps, who play much of this sublime album live.