After receiving considerable attention and sales for the title track to their 2005 debut Girl Next Door and opening for artists like Kelly Clarkson and The Fray, it’s evident Saving Jane is a band that’s building some serious momentum. On their second album, the appeal is clear. The Columbus, Ohio quartet possesses a penchant for huge, hooky choruses and a lead singer, Marti Dodson, with killer vocal chops and the ability to navigate tricky lyrical waters like the development of positive images of females (the title track) and earnest spiritual expression (“Grace”) with commendable amounts of poise and creativity. There’s enough that’s commendable about the record, in fact, that its shortcomings are all the harder to bear. The album’s production values seem to include recycling all kinds of pop clichés which is unfortunate because of the unique spirit Dodson seems to be. A couple of the instrumental licks seem familiar (most notably, the opening moments of “Better Day” which resemble Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn”). Much of the material sounds like an attempt at constructing a bridge between the glossy pop of artists like Clarkson and Avril Lavigne with the glossy rock of bands like Creed. If Saving Jane builds on what’s unique and distinct about them, they have a world of potential. Until then, they have a record that hovers around being just average.
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// Notes from the Road
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