The Reserves

Life

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    5
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Some bands, simply put, mean well. The Reserves sound like they mean well enough, creating songs that aim for general profundities or slice-of-life portrayals, lyrics matching appropriate music as needed, the whole captured by both the album title and the road-to-who-knows-where cover. The problem with Life, though, is that in this case it doesn't feel like it's much worth living. At the Reserves' best, they play a competent but not much more than that blend of stately epic rock that aims for the heights where later U2 or Coldplay found themselves. But nothing feels like it could exist without those or other role models, and more than once the combination of lead singer Dave Greksouk's singing and the no-frills performances feels all very dully familiar, an endless loop of 1996 or so when Matchbox Twenty, Hootie & the Blowfish, and the Goo Goo Dolls were all floating around on the radio together. But not even the raspy attempt at meaningfulness on "Room for Two," seemingly designed for late-night drinking sessions by an army of lonely dudes, provides enough variety to make Life something more than just another release, one of many by many different bands, that simply doesn't fire up much.

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