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Lifehouse
STANLEY CLIMBFALL
(DREAMWORKS)

Stars graphics

Lifehouse proved they were a great singles band with " Hanging by a Moment, " a lite-grunge love letter for the ages and one of the biggest hits of 2001. On " Spin, " the first single from their second and latest album, frontman Jason Wade kicks in the distortion, gets a little mushy, and comes up with another killer chorus. " I lost it all when I found you/And I wouldnít change a thing, " he croons, striking up the band and making a pass at the ladies with his accurate Eddie Vedder impersonation. The 22-year-old Wade hits similar emotional highs on the discís second single, " Take Me Away, " and his guitar is to Radioheadís Jonny Greenwood as his voice is to Vedder.

But over the course of the album, his songwriting becomes frustratingly generic. For every exhilarating rocker like " Out of Breath, " thereís an aimless ballad like " Stanley Climbfall, " which doesnít overcome the clumsy wordplay of its title. On the ambling country-rock narrative " Just Another Name, " the band take a rare but rewarding departure from the middle of the road. Thereís no question Lifehouse have potential, but Stanley Climbfall puts too much emphasis on style and too little on substance.

BY SEAN RICHARDSON

Issue Date: April 25 - May 1, 2003
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