Fuel

Angels & Devils

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A few years after the 2003 release of their third album, Natural Selection, Fuel parted ways with lead vocalist Brett Scallions, which turned out to be a bit of fortuitous timing. Because Fuel were without a singer, they received a huge publicity boost in early 2006 when Chris Daughtry, resident rocker of the fifth season of American Idol, plugged them relentlessly, singing their songs and citing them as an influence. Since the band was down a singer, guitarist/songwriter Carl Bell and bassist Jeff Abercrombie (drummer Kevin Miller had left in 2004) decided to pursue Daughtry publicly, only to have the newly ascendant star turn them down. Undaunted, the pair hired Toryn Green as their new singer (and Godsmack skinman Tommy Stewart as their new drummer) and set out to make their own version of Daughtry's debut album with their fourth record, 2007's Angels & Devils. Musically, this isn't much different than previous Fuel albums, but they have followed their prodigy's lead, turning down the heaviness (not just in the guitars but the tone) and playing up the anthems and sentiment, leaving this as tortured-but-optimistic, tortured-but-earnest post-grunge. The production is brighter and Green is a more precise singer than Scallions, but such professionalism winds up giving Fuel a more generic feel than before -- indeed, they sound more generic than Daughtry, who not only has a knack for rock anthems but also benefited from some professional collaborators. Bell may have needed some similar kind of assistance on Angels & Devils, because the end result if pleasant but forgettable, something no rock band should be.

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