Over the years, Chris Otepka's work as the Heligoats has often seemed like a half-private affair, half-free-floating project courtesy of those who have collaborated with him live and in the studio. On Goodness Gracious, Otepka seems to have found one of the best balances yet between those two sides, a full-bodied affair that still suggests the low-key winter sessions that gave birth to the songs to start with. The band's almost flowing arrangements on songs like "A Guide to the Outdoors" and "Rubber Stopper," the latter with a big post-punk-tinged guitar shimmer on the break, suggests a kindred spirit, if not an exact similarity with groups like the Helio Sequence. On quicker, more rushed songs such as "Fish Sticks" and "Heat Vents" there's a hint of the kind of communal punch so many other indie rock contemporaries especially love as well, but again not to the point where the band seems like they're just trying to borrow or slot into a particular group's approach. This all said, the Heligoats often sound more pleasant than truly remarkable, showcasing gentle accomplishments but not always putting a specific stamp on a sound, with nods verging at points on the overdone (the wind chimes on "Aquifer" could be a tip of the hat to the Beach Boys but just as easily suggest many other groups who have similarly used them over time). Otepka's most underrated talent may be a knack for good lines -- thus on "Water Towers on Fire," "like a phone I wish you were off the hook" -- but overall, Goodness Gracious is a good album, but not quite a great one.