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[Off The Record]
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" Hanging by a Moment, " the breakthrough hit from college-age LA heartthrobs Lifehouse, is fist-pumping nouveau grunge at its sweetest. " I’m falling even more in love with you, " sings frontman Jason Wade in his silly Eddie-Vedder-by-way-of-Scott-Stapp bray as the song’s tender opening guitar line gives way to a time-tested car crash of a chorus. But modern-rock fans won’t find much else to get riled up about on No Name Face — Wade’s voice aside, Lifehouse are more like the next Eagles than the next Creed. The band adopt an easygoing California-rock æsthetic on most of the disc, working with the same team that produced the first album by former Lilith teen hopeful Kendall Payne (including Payne herself, who sings back-up on " Trying " ). They come up as short on hooks as they do on big guitars, relying instead on a busy assortment of strings and keyboards to make their tunes stand out. Wade’s songwriting is decidedly downbeat: brushing aside the glow of " Hanging by a Moment, " he spends the rest of the disc pondering the meaning of life. On the soporific " Breathing, " he even tries his hand at a Stapp-like oblique dialogue with God. Maybe next time the band will remember to extract the rock from the Creed formula.

(Lifehouse open for Matchbox Twenty and Everclear next Thursday, March 15, at the Centrum in Worcester. The show is officially sold out.)

Issue Date: March 8 - 15, 2001

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