Michael Penns conceit for this album is that its songs take place in the context, or against the backdrop, of post-WWII Los Angeles. Its a unifying idea so flimsy that the most rabid conceptualist wouldnt try to hold Penn to its application. Better to consider the album as part of Penns general artistry. Not unlike his wife Aimee Mann, he specializes in songs that set the hope for love against intelligent bitterness and whimsical resentment. Behind the boards, he layers his darkly melodic voice and folk-rock music until they echo the baroque stylization of late Beatles and most Mitchell Froom. Mr. Hollywood contrasts Penns radio-ready elegance (Pretending, On Automatic) with his over-thinking indulgence (The Transistor, The Television Set Waltz). Its best, most tuneful moments grasp the universal; its worst recall any era when singer-songwriters have used silly concepts to distance themselves from their labors and their listeners.