Careen

Crash Couture

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Despite the success of Weezer and Fountains of Wayne, hook-inflected guitar pop doesn't always translate into widespread mainstream acceptance. From Sloan to the Screaming Tribesmen to the Posies, great bands have slugged it out for years with limited success. If Portland, OR's Careen doesn't make the big time, it's not because their Britpop-influenced melodic winners aren't deserving. Propelled by Joe Chiccarelli's shiny production -- previously utilized by big names like Beck, U2, and Wilco -- gives Crash Couture a vital hard-candy shell. At the heart of the album, Drew Grow's love-launched compositions (like "Tragedy" and "Who Loves You") can be found. And although they blossom beautifully, the hard-thumping "Lights" burns brightest, setting the pace for a rock-solid disc that deserves your attention.

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