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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Hourly Radio - History Will Never Hold Me
Release Date: September 5, 2006
Label: Kirtland Records

Aaron Closson, lead vocalist for pop/rock band The Hourly Radio, at times recalls an early Darren Hayes or Greg Gilbert of the Delays. Possessing a voice that can easily waver between the androgynous angelic to the gritty indie showman, his presence is the most immediate component of the band’s debut release, History Will Never Hold Us. And, fueled by propulsive pop melodies that further ingratiate themselves with each listen, the songs almost always match the singer.

History begins with a bit of a red herring, the instrumental Travelsigns. From there on, though, the band aims straight for the pop jugular. Tracks like the bouncy Crime Does Pay and the radio sing-along Not A Victim are an example of what modern rock could sound like if all the Nickelbacks out there took a dose of Prozac. Deaf Ears, with its blistering vocal performance and insistent guitar is the album’s ultimate standout. When Closson attacks the chorus’ ruthless “your prayers fall on deaf ears tonight, my love,” it’s completely believable, even as he does so in his best angry pop star style. It’s the sound of Savage Garden gone indie, and it’s absolutely thrilling.

The record slows down a bit towards the end and the songs become harder to crack, hiding their radio hooks further beneath their sleeves. One exception is Means To An End, a gentle guitar strummer that manages to fit in perfectly with the glossy pop before it even as it mixes folk elements with sweeps of synthesizer. History Will Never Hold Me lacks nothing in commercial appeal and, with any luck, should find its way into the hearts of many pop fans eager for something with a bit more of a bite to it. B+

Key Tracks: Deaf Ears, Crime Does Pay, Not A Victim


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