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September 15, 2008
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New CD reviews for Eagle County

Come Around, EpitaphSing It Loud's new album, Come Around, is simultaneously annoying and pleasing. Annoying in that it sounds like every other power-pop punk band for tweeners out there right now (Good Charlotte, Yellowcard); pleasing because despite the lack of creativity the album peddles, its still a fun and silly effort that doesnt take itself too seriously. Its easy to listen to and easy to forget.It all boils down to the fact that Sing It Loud never strays from the same old three-chord thrash formula that so many other bands in this genre depend on, which makes it hard to distinguish them from the pack. Do they want to just blend into the scene? Maybe, maybe not, but it sure feels that way throughout the entire running time of Come Around.Theres nothing smart about the lyrics or the use of vocals, nothing to display the bands prowess on the instrumental side of things either. But Sing It Loud does the whole short-sweet-and-simple song writing thing really well, which partly makes up for the mediocrity that Come Around is immersed in.Charlie Owen, High Life Writer

Now or Heaven, MergeThe Broken West isnt really in the business of breaking down walls. The Los Angeles band is in the business of making effortlessly tight indie pop, though, and that seems to be enough for them.Breaking away from its California-rock roots, on Now or Heaven The Broken West gets rid of the sunshiny guitars and carefree air, replacing the general lift of its debut, I Cant Go On, Ill Go On, with an amped-up role for the rhythm section. Its an interesting break getting rid of the elements that set the group apart from every other celebrated indie rock back of the past five years and it doesnt always work.That comes out in a particularly unfortunate streak of songs about halfway through Now or Heaven, where monotonous bass beats overpower the played-out emotions on the surface of House of Lies. Things dont get much better on the bouncier but equally boring Smartest Man Alive, and they keep up a snails pace on Got It Bad. Lyrical context was never really a strong point for The Broken West, and thats all these songs have to stand on.But when Now or Heaven does hit on those little bits of happiness that made I Cant Go On stand out from its peers, the results are a deliberately joyous use of canned drums and dance pop synthesizers. Those songs are dispersed well enough throughout with opener Gwen, Now and Then, mid-album break Perfect Games and second-to-last track Terror for Two that Now or Heaven has the complexity a band-of-the-moment needs in its follow-up album.Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

You & Me, GiganticWith You & Me, New York pop-garage boys The Walkmen offer a jittering collection of down-tempo pop tunes, all full of uncertainty and doubt and fantastically melodic guitar lines that completely clash with everything else going on.If lead vocalist Hamilton Leithauser didnt sell that combination so well, it would be painful to listen to. But he does sell it, with his honest if not always original songwriting situations.That works well enough for the distant feeling of the albums first three tracks. And it really gets useful on everything after that, starting with In the New Year, an early outpouring of everything thats been building under the surface on You & Me, as Leithauser lets loose a sort of anguished nostalgia paired with hope for the future. There are uplifting keyboard lines and shuffling drums to break through the albums general fuzz, and The Walkmen infuse the song with joy it probably doesnt deserve.Things pick up from there on You & Me, though they never get too bombastic or dynamic in other words, they continue to sound like The Walkmen, breezy and mindful of what will work, and what people want to hear.Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today


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The VailDaily Updated Sep 15, 2008 06:01PM Published Sep 15, 2008 06:01PM Copyright 2008 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.