Hundred Reasons

Ideas Above Our Station

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Another day and another heavily hyped major-label U.K. band careening down an unfashionable path. The passion of Hundred Reasons on Ideas Above Our Station seems completely honest, but the group is traversing territory that's been pretty clearly marked by U.S. bands from Fugazi to At the Drive-In as well as U.K. acts like Manic Street Preachers and Idlewild. It's very difficult to make a successful serious hard rock album with lyrics best reserved for teen diaries. Track titles like "Drowning," "Falter," and "Dissolve" should be an instant warning that the members of Hundred Reasons take themselves very seriously. But where they seem to be striving for the organized chaos of "One Armed Scissor," they instead invoke comparisons to less critically approved bands like Silverchair and Bush. The album certainly rages appropriately, and fierce, edgy songs like "Shine" approach a sonic fury nearly worthy of their influences. But everything seems too arranged, too polished, and too commercial. Ideas Above Our Station probably has a built-in audience in disaffected youths who care more about dynamics than art. Even when they insert a bit of delightful melody into their songs, as on "Gone Too Far," they botch the track with tired chugging guitars that seem lifted from any metal song of the 1980s. Hundred Reasons will succeed as a group of mature artists only after the band has staked a claim to an original musical motif and stopped relying on clich├ęs.

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