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Secondhand Serenade

A Twist in My Story

(Glassnote; US: 19 Feb 2008; UK: Available as import)

John Vesely’s second album finds him supported by a full band this time around. And with the production help of Butch Walker and Danny Lohner, Secondhand Serenade sounds first rate for the Warped Tour tween or teen demographic. That’s not to say that everything sounds original or unpolished. In fact “Like a Knife” sounds like something Angels & Airwaves tossed aside at the last minute before their latest record. It’s good but it’s been done to death, an earnest attempt at rock that is terribly telegraphed. The same can be said for the emo-saturated “Fall For You” which brings to mind Simple Plan. Alienation and angst is the order of most of the songs, including the melodramatic “Maybe” and the equally safe and heartfelt “Your Call”. The biggest snag here is how so much of Vesely’s performances seem interchangeable, the only aberration from this is “Suppose” which has a certain melodic, Smashing Pumpkins hue to it. Vesely yet again wears his heart on his sleeve during “Why”, but by this point, one wonders why he has not occasionally challenged himself or the listener.

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Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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