As if leading an ever-rotating band of backing musicians through the interpretation of your own special brand of lo-fi weren’t challenge enough, Kyle Field also has the worst publicist ever. In fact, the one-sheet for Magic Wand, the Portland, Ore.–based musician’s fifth album as Little Wings, describes the record as being the result of “the Child Artist deep inside Kyle emerging.” So it’s something of a relief that, although Field does bring a fair amount of Neverland-worthy wonderment to this 12-song disc, he also manages to sidestep both cutesy and flaky. Appropriately, the standout track is “Uncle Kyle Says,” a bouncy tune whose kids-perspective singsong—“So when Uncle Kyle says, ‘Is everybody fed? Does anybody need a restroom?’/You better act fast, he’s paying for the gas/We gotta hit the road now soon”—would feel right at home around a campfire. The song, which appears at the three-quarters mark of the 46-minute album, is the sole burst of energy amid Magic Wand’s unrelenting mellow, which displays none of Field’s previous alt-country leanings but is pure what’s-it-all-about folk. Indeed, the first three songs— “Everybody,” “Whale Mountain,” and “I Am With You”—are identifiable as discrete compositions only when Field trades in “Everybody”s acoustic guitar for plaintive piano on the other two. While Field keeps the music straightforward—some songs are unadorned by even percussion—his lyrics are a bit more difficult to grasp, because of both his occasionally unbearable, cracked-falsetto warbling (at its poke-your-eardrums worst on “White Sky”) and his apparent desire to cover every topic known to humankind (see the seven-minute “So What”). True, Field’s less-successful lyrics are sometimes difficult to let slide—“Whale Mountain”’s “can’t wear the shoe unless you put on the sock,” for example, isn’t just dumb, but also clearly wrong—but all it takes is one of Magic Wand’s surprisingly lovely melodies for the message to resonate anyway. And though the man’s inner child certainly does emerge on the opening track, the gut-puncher of a closer, “Darkened Car,” suggests that the artist may be older and wiser than we think. You may not understand what the line “In a darkened car, you’re only who you say you are” means, but between Field’s mournful guitar strum and the couplet that goes, “If in time we don’t speak anymore/You’ll still feel me outside your door,” you get the distinct feeling that the kid has suddenly been forced to grow up. —Tricia Olszewski