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Juliana Theory
LOVE
(EPIC)

Stars graphics

The upside of emoís irruption into the mainstream last year (through the success of bands like Jimmy Eat World) is the promise of more heart-wrenching spectacles like Dashboard Confessionalís bravura MTV Unplugged performance, in which a nation of teenagers drowning in angst had the chance to air their emotional insecurities on basic cable. The downside is albums like the Juliana Theoryís dreadful Epic debut. This Pennsylvania quintet have paid their indie dues since forming in 1997, recording two well-received albums for the predominately Christian punk label Tooth & Nail and touring nonstop on a well-beaten indie-rock circuit. But on Love, the band confirm every reservation underground purists have about emoís commercialization: a singer whoís never heard a bellow he didnít like; a palette of guitar tones straight out of the Queensrÿche manual; showy prog-derived song structures; and enough bleeding-heart boilerplate to make Creed blanch. In the span of one song, the brooding " Congratulations, " frontman Brett Detar comes up with both " lovers in the night " and " the weight of the world. " Former Talking Head guitarist and Live producer Jerry Harrison packs in lots of radio-ready whisper-to-a-roar dynamics. But his handiwork only illuminates how much work this Theory need.

BY MIKAEL WOOD

Issue Date: March 13 - 20, 2003
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