Allora Sia Buon Viaggio

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Lost's 2010 output is no big break from its predecessor, but, as the classic said, "It's just there, it's a little different" -- and, one may add, more enjoyable. The band is still rooted in pop-punk, delivering simple guitar hooks over steady beats that are dynamic, but never frantic -- just the right tempo for the radio -- and mixes it with trademark, even stereotypical Italian sensibility, but this time around the music is more involved and more emotional than in the past. There is an emo vibe, in fact, although it's achieved not through falsetto histrionics and gravely misinterpreted hardcore riffs, but through larger-than-life melodies and background string washes that enhance the music without making it lose the rock edge -- Dashboard Confessional, not My Chemical Romance. Allora Sia Buon Viaggio is still one step away from being fashionable: Eros Ramazzotti is as much of an influence here as the emo kids are, with most songs being on the sappy side -- unabashedly sappy, in fact, like a box-office-topping rom com or a Bon Jovi ballad -- but the sunny mood and the smart arrangements, from pianos and tremolo guitars to dramatic buildups in between verse-chorus schemes, ensure that the audience would be able to enjoy the ride without cringing at its kitschiness. Add an infectious super-hit in "Per Te," one occasion when the band remembers it has a bassist and puts him to good use, and you get a record that may not be cutting-edge pop but sure is quality pop, romantic and uplifting, but with the songwriting just clever enough not to be one-dimensional.

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