Lyrically, emocore is a very different world from the commercial arena rock and pop-metal of the 1970s and 1980s. Emocore is highly introspective, whereas a lot of pre-1991 arena rock and pop-metal was all about fantasy, escapism, and mindless fun. So is it possible for an emocore band to show an appreciation of classic pop-metal and arena rock? Diffuser's Injury Loves Melody demonstrates that it is. This generally appealing, if a bit uneven, CD has all of the angst and introspection one expects from an emo band. But while Diffuser (formerly Flu Thirteen) is very much an emo/alternative rock unit, Cheap Trick's influence asserts itself on melodic yet forceful tracks like "I Am" and the single "Karma." Lyrically, Diffuser doesn't have Cheap Trick's sense of testosterone-driven fun -- the lyrics are generally a lot more serious. But musically, one cannot overlook the Cheap Trick elements that Diffuser brings to this CD, which the New York band produced with Don Gilmore. Reading the credits, you would think that Injury Loves Melody has 11 songs, but there's actually a hidden 12th track at the end -- one that is a departure from the rest of the album. The hidden track is a caricature of 1980s pop-metal; offering lyrics that go out of their way to be mindless, the tune is as ironic as Spinal Tap. Injury Loves Melody isn't a masterpiece, but the material is generally solid -- and for the most part, this album demonstrates that emocore angst and commercial pop gloss aren't mutually exclusive.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson