Lifehouse scored a huge hit with 2001's "Hanging by a Moment," a post-grunge prom anthem that found twenty-year-old singer Jason Wade getting desperately lovesick over massive Creed-like guitars. Having lightened up a bit since reaching drinking age, the L.A. trio's third album mitigates its drab FM-radio rock with string arrangements and other touches of pop whimsy. Wade is a more convincing romantic than his modern-rock peers, but he's still dragged down by his constipated tenor and ponderous mien: Slow ones such as "You and Me" are worthy for The O.C. and little else. "Walking Away" does a credible imitation of a depressed, autumnal Pearl Jam ballad, and "Chapter One" channels Stone Temple Pilots' sleek, winding melodies. "The End Has Only Begun" is more promising, with a hooky chorus that swoops and swoons over a jangly guitar groove. But as Wade explores the upper reaches of his tenor, his band still hasn't found its voice.
(Posted: May 19, 2005)
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