Volume 95, Issue 72

Friday, February 8, 2002

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Spicy pad Thai heats up the downtown core

InterVarsity Choral Festival prepares to hit the high note

Disc of the Week

This is Bad Taste, no literally - it sucks

Hoobastank crawls into sickly sweet pop

Boys cry, too, y'know

Hoobastank crawls into sickly sweet pop



Def Jam Records

Three Stars (out of five)

Hoobastank's major label is a solid first effort for the Southern California quartet.

Though the band has been cultivating its own style since 1995, the new album indicates that today's alternative rock scene has also left an impression on Hoobastank.

The first single from the record is "Crawling in the Dark," an upbeat, energetic "nu-metal" track bordering on the realm of pop.

Lead singer Douglas Robb contributes a distinctive lyrical voice throughout the album, displaying an impressive vocal range.

In "Pieces," Robb paints a striking portrait of the suffocating effects of modern society. His haunting vocals are complemented by low-key guitars and thrashing drums.

Conversely, "Let You Know" should have been re-routed to the latest N*Sync album, with its sickly sweet lyrics and boring, poppy melody. It adds a shiny coat to the more profound and interesting tracks surrounding it.

In addition, Hoobastank's preppy, pretty boy image is ill-suited to the genre, which may be a turn-off for some of the potential market.

One of the more impressive songs on the album is "Running Away," an emotional piece in which Robb directly confronts his own feelings of helplessness: "Is it me? Is it you? Nothing that I can do. Is it a waste of time?"

Hoobastank's debut is both intense and quietly despairing – yet it maintains a distinguishing melodic quality setting it apart from mainstream alt-rock.

Unfortunately, the album becomes repetitive halfway through and could stand to benefit from greater musical variation.

Though the band's polished sound is worthy of credit, the album does nothing to significantly advance the genre.

–Megan O'Toole

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