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HOOBASTANK

(ISLAND)

Stars graphics

"Is there something more than what Iíve been handed?" sings Hoobastank frontman Douglas Robb on "Crawling in the Dark," the bandís debut single and one of the snappiest tunes to hit mainstream-rock radio this year. Like Incubus singer Brandon Boyd, Robb likes to ask the big questions, which should come as no surprise, since it was Hoobastankís long-standing friendship with Incubus that first brought them major-label attention.

Robb also shares Boydís tough-guy pretty voice and amiable SoCal slacker ways, but Hoobastank are a much more straightforward and hard-hitting rock band than their schizophonic buddies. The fuzz-guitar overload and the pop sophistication of "Crawling in the Dark" recall vintage Foo Fighters; the mosh-ready "Pieces" adds some well-placed dissonance to the mix. "Ready for You" weds LA pop-punk sunshine to angst-ridden Seattle grime, bridging the two with sweet vocal harmonies and an outpouring of nice-guy sincerity from Robb. The bandís songwriting can get lazy, and their suburban-bred muso inclinations sometimes get the best of them. Which pretty much makes them Alien Ant Farm to Incubusís Papa Roach ó hey, at least they left the Michael Jackson cover on the cutting-room floor.

(Hoobastank open for 311 this Saturday, March 30, at the Palladium in Worcester. The show is officially sold out. The band also open for Incubus on Monday May 13 at the Centrum in Worcester. Call 617-228-6000.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON

Issue Date: March 28 - April 4, 2002
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