Sound as Ever, the debut album from Tennessee power pop outfit Luxury Liners is a competent yet undistinguished affair. Power pop is a very formulaic genre (guitar, bass, and drums with strict verse-chorus-verse song structures), so it takes a band that truly has skills or a real knack for a pop hook to rise above the fact that the music itself is somewhat derivative. The problem with Sound as Ever is not that it's bad. It's quite listenable, and many of the songs are understated pop gems. They may not make an impression on the first listen, but they probably will worm into your brain and set their hooks in later on. Several songs ("I Think She's Coming Around," "Fresh Start," and the anthemic "Duke of Gloucester") sound like they could've been done by Teenage Fanclub or Marshall Crenshaw. The problem is that Luxury Liners don't carve out a niche on this album. They seemingly have no true identity, like they're an anonymous power pop band that doesn't have the energy or hooks to demand attention. This may not bother the cult-like power pop devotees, but to those who are not die-hard fans of the genre, releases like this are little more than head-scratchers.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Damas