Thornley

Come Again

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After Big Wreck dried up in 2002, Ian Thornley returned to his native Toronto, where he hooked up with pal Chad Kroeger of incredibly huge blather rock outfit Nickelback. Thornley signed with Kroeger's vanity imprint, tapped producer Gavin Brown, and secured backing help from the studio musician ranks. The result is Come Again, a slick, straightforward post-grunge effort with an ear for melody and slight twinges of psychedelia. Cuts like "Falling to Pieces" and the title track are greased-up chest bumps of well-executed 21st century active rock, akin to types like Lo-Pro or the similarly Gavin-produced Three Days Grace. It rumbles appropriately and teems with generic yearn -- it's numbingly indistinct music, but damn if it doesn't sound good loud. Thornley makes a more lasting impression with material like "So Far So Good" and "The Going Rate (My Fix)," which lets him stretch his wily vocals over instrumentation that shifts from acoustic to electric, and from plaintive to powerful. Contrasting the muscular stomp of "Easy Comes" with the more atmospheric, melodic "All Comes Out in the Wash," Audioslave becomes Thornley's closest stylistic peer. They both showcase powerful singers with whisper-to-a-screech range; both groups are a bit older and like tempering their full-on rock rip with some gray-hairs-in-the-sink introspection. Come Again should find fans of this sound, as well as Thornley supporters left over from his Big Wreck days.

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