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Guards

In Guards We Trust

(Black Bell; US: 5 Feb 2013; UK: 29 Apr 2013)

The Brooklyn band Guards plays an eclectic form of pop-rock with bits and pieces tossed in from all over the map—big anthemic choruses on “Ready to Go” and “Not Supposed To”, pounding dance-pop drums on “Nightmare”, breathy vocals mixed down into the murk, even some nifty guitar work from time to time. When it all comes together, as on “Heard the News” and the high-energy “I Know It’s You”, Guards manages to tap into something fun and even, occasionally, powerful. “Your Man” is another strong track that benefits from a moody rhythm and harmony vocals. Too often, though, the band just sounds like washed-out pop, with melodies that don’t really stick and not enough rawk to have much edge. “Not Supposed To” is as substantial as cotton candy, while the unpleasant “Giving Out” sounds like it’s aspiring to Britney Spears-esque dance pop vacuousness, and succeeding. Singer Richie Follin does have a good voice on such anthems as “Nightmare”, but there are more compelling options out there.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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