Capitol Air

Desperate Hour Extinguisher

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Why should English bands like Fuse, Coldplay, Travis, Doves, etc., have the market cornered on the Radiohead The Bends/OK Computer post-U2 model of moody modern alternative rock? Why not a band from western Pennsylvania like Capitol Air, whose Desperate Hour Extinguisher could easily slip into the music-store bins of any of the above without notice? It's the same state, after all, that once gave listeners the Innocence Mission and Ocean Blue, two other groups based on ethereal Blighty sonics. Singer Gregory Lehmer sounds like an uncanny cross between Thom Yorke, Bono, and Gene Loves Jezebel, as his voice soars heaven-bound in search of redemption -- and it's fair to wish he sounded more distinctive, less formulaic, too. But what gives Capitol Air at least a little space from their better-known foreign competition is the strong playing of Matthew Beck, a guitarist of great dimension, who shifts from waves of smack and shiver to the mildest quietly picked shimmy within songs, the calm after the storm. That and the gifted, elastic rhythm section of Jeffrey Lehmer and Douglas Calaman work small wonders, while the production is near-perfect. So if you're into the aboveā€¦