Ross Flournoy’s greatest gift and most troublesome curse is being exceptionally good at crafting slick southern-California pop-rock, a type of music that’s become practically synonymous with “underappreciated” ever since The Eagles pulled out of the fast lane at the end of the ’70s. But the 2009 demise of Flournoy’s band The Broken West hasn’t deterred him from the path of creating immediately pleasing power-pop songs about how paradise ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be. The Year Of Magical Drinking, his debut as Apex Manor, retains the sunny melancholy of The Broken West’s excellent swan song, Now Or Heaven, with jangly guitars and Flournoy’s warm tenor dressing up tales of young southern Californians dousing unfulfilled lives in booze and fruitless self-examination. “You’re a ghost in this life, curling up in an unmade bed,” he sings on the typically catchy “The Party Line,” one of many keenly observant songs on Magical Drinking that convey the “dark sunshine” feeling unique to Los Angeles. It’s an album that might seem superficially bright and shiny, but the edges are sharper than they appear.