"This is just sincere, unpretentious rock music," says bandleader Jim Suptic (formerly of the Get Up Kids) of his new band's debut album. "We don't have a gimmick." A cynic might point out that in a music marketplace where gimmicks flourish like fungus in a damp basement, claiming not to have a gimmick can be as much a gimmick as getting matching haircuts. But cynics will find themselves confounded by This Town's Disaster, an album overflowing with unpretentious meat-and-potatoes guitars, sincere average-guy vocals, and crunchy, completely ungimmicky production. None of that is enough to make an album worth hearing, of course; the rock & roll graveyard is littered with sincere, unpretentious, uninteresting rock bands. This is the kind of music that lives and dies on hooks, on its ability to make the listener giddy with sheer, melodic pop pleasure, and luckily, Blackpool Lights deliver that in spades: the title track comes on like a less wimpy version of the Goo Goo Dolls, while "Empty Tank" is a heartland singalong that sounds kind of like what might happen if John Cougar were to start singing lead for a particularly aggressive emo band. Even more Middle American in sound is the acoustic-based "Maybe Just Maybe," but the album's highlight is "Goodnight to Romance," a headlong, heart-on-sleeve slab of power pop brilliance; the kind that might make Will Hoge lose a bit of sleep. Very highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson