Rearview Mirror

All Lights Off

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AllMusic Review by

Producer Steve Lillywhite spent years working with some of the most important acts in alternative music, from the Talking Heads to the Smiths. When he formed his own Gobstopper Records in 2001, the first signing to be announced was Rearview Mirror, an emotive post-grunge foursome. Although the signing was a bit of a surprise considering the usual Lillywhite collaborators, one listen to All Lights Off gives a good impression of why he would put so much effort into the band. Although the album is no landmark, Rearview Mirror has two things that set them apart from the herd of Staind wannabes that are surrounding the release of this album. First and foremost, they have a unique approach toward their material. Matt Olson spreads razor-sharp bursts of high-end guitar over the Perfect Circle-esque songs, adding an excitement and harshness that would otherwise be missing. This helps to give them a distinct voice, but what eventually puts it over is Lillywhite's production. He manages to pull a passion and power out of this material that the songs don't seem like they would otherwise contain. These two elements help the band sound somewhat ahead of the game, although their songwriting is not always up to par with their enthusiasm. A few tracks stand out as being exceptional ("28/4," "City Walls," "Sinking"), but for the most part these songs are not that impressive. The performance sells them as such, but this is one band that needs to capitalize on their own promise. They have made a good debut album, but Rearview Mirror needs to write slightly better songs before following this up.

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