SoCal mood-rockers Mad at Gravity donít have much in the way of underground cred: they got signed before they ever went on tour, and this is their first professional recording. But paying scenester dues has never been a prerequisite for the kind of commercial-rock stardom these guys are going for. And with the help of producer Steve Evetts, a distinguished East Coast hardcore alum whoís worked with Hatebreed and the Dillinger Escape Plan, the band have crafted a solid, hook-laden debut that recalls the flighty pop experimentation of Deftones and Incubus.
Singer J. Lynn Johnston isnít the most magnetic frontman in rock, but heís a thoughtful, introspective lyricist who knows his way around a pretty melody. "Wonder if Iíve said too much/And weíll never speak again," he croons on the discís stellar first single, "Walk Away," as the band shimmer behind him. Guitarists James Barlow and Anthony Boscarini spice up their meat-and-potatoes rhythm attack with all kinds of OK Computer space-rock stunts. "Historypeats" is more elegant than its ham-fisted title implies, and the epic ballad "Undefined" is an effective piece of melodrama. Resonance could use a little more oomph, but Mad at Gravity are off to a good start.
(Mad at Gravity open for Jerry Cantrell this Tuesday, November 5, at Avalon. Call 617-262-2424.)