Denver Harbor

Scenic

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    5
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AllMusic Review by

Denver Harbor can be tossed in the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none file. On their debut record, Scenic, the band spreads itself thin by trying to cover all the bases at once and ends up falling through the cracks. Alt-metal, retro-grunge and -alternative, hardcore punk, emo, and even some reggae are all styles that the band dips its toes in. Although they give 110 percent all the time, the record can't help ending up sounding generic and lifeless. The guitars are processed and layered just so, the drums are studio tight, and the vocals switch between obvious hardcore shouting and syrupy crooning; it all sounds calculated and ready for the cutout bin. Not to say the record is without some merit. Songs like the anthemic "Picture Perfect Wannabe" and the muted ballad "All I Want" show some solid songcraft, and there are some catchy hooks sprinkled here and there. There are just too many songs like "The Ride" or "My Holiday (Save Me)" that could be by anyone at all, too many songs with no stamp of individualism, and an obvious desire to be modern rock radio fodder. Hidden at the end of the record is a song that could point the way out of the generic forest. "Let You Go" drops all authentic emo-grunge pretenses and makes a mad grab for the pop market. It is a light and breezy love song built on acoustic guitars and polite drums, sappy lyrics, and a sunny loud chorus. It sounds like Justin Timberlake if he were into Good Charlotte or maybe Sugar Ray if they were in junior high: pure dumb pop happiness. It certainly puts the rest of the record to shame and makes you wish they were aiming for the teen poppers all the time. They don't, however, and the result is pretty uneven but with hope for the future.

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