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The Alternate Routes

Good and Reckless and True

(Vanguard Records; US: 13 Mar 2007; UK: 7 May 2007)

This debut album is more limp, bloodless and dispiriting than anything I’ve heard in a long time. Audibly straining to please everyone and offend no-one it offers only bland platitudes and forgettable tunes to the extent that you really have to wonder why they bothered. Lead singer Tim Warren has one of those blandly inoffensive voices (think David Gray meets Fran Healy) that combined with clichéd overblown lyrics (“Will you stand in the ashes building a flame for the rest of your dreams?”) drives me to despair. It’s as though all the passion has been surgically removed, if it ever existed in the first place. The airbrushed production doesn’t help matters either and on the cleanly precise, though horribly lumbering ballad, “Hollywood” distressing images of Extreme’s “More Than Words” video started to appear in my mind. When they do try to rock they end up sounding like INXS (fronted by David Gray). It’s all mightily trite and depressing, offering nothing new whatsoever just a wearisome trudge through cliché after cliché. The second track is called “Who Cares?” A neatly succinct summation of my own feelings after listening to this record.

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The Alternate Routes - Ordinary
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