Drama Queen

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Drama Queen is a phenomenal follow-up to the far inferior Out of Your Mouth, and with it Darr has finally pieced together the many musical threads in his head into one sizzling set. The core of Neurosonic's sound is a seamlessly stitched tapestry of hard rock (in all its many forms) and gloriously sweet melodic choruses, but that's only the core. The opening stab at lip-syncing the simpering popette Jessica Simpson melds hip-hop, hardcore, and classic '80s rock with a catchy chorus. "Are Solar" splashes thundering hard rock guitars around a warm, melody laced chorus, and tosses in a nod to Eminem for good measure. "Fearless" features the lush extravaganza of every British rocker's Christmas single, then drops in a harmony-drenched new-school punk-styled chorus. "Me Myself and I" is an exquisite, pensive ballad, until it revs up into rock. "I Will Always Be Your Fool" shifts the other direction, from hard rock into a dreamy, Beatlesesque chorus, a feat that "Until I Die" repeats, only this time with stomping '80s rock.

"Frankenstein" and "Crazy Sheila" stomp straight into Slade and glam territory, while "Boneheads" incorporates a tinge of industrial dance, a splash of hip-hop, and a shout-along chorus. Hair metal comes back into fashion, lighter-in-the-air arena rock gets its due, while orchestral ballads make a comeback (wait; did they ever leave?) in Darr's oh-so-clever hands. The sound is as big and bruising as it needs to be, while the gentler, softer sounds are allowed to sweep in with all the sassiness of a rich debutante. Thematically, "So Many People" is the exception to the angsty, troubled interpersonal rule, a reflection of Darr's industrial, indie influences. Melancholy teens will cleave to the lyrics, but it's the music that will capture the respect of their elders.

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