Faber Drive

Lost in Paradise

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Starting out in the mid-2000s, Faber Drive was a Canadian pop-punk band heavy on the pop. Not unlike Good Charlotte, A Simple Plan, or Hedley, the band coated sugary, radio-ready hooks in distorted guitar and spirited drums, leaning toward rock attitude but essentially making Top 40 sounds for the Hot Topic set with albums like 2007's Seven Second Surgery. Third album Lost in Paradise is a logical step in their evolution, but moves noticeably away from the band's mall punk roots, embracing a more electronic dance-oriented sound steeped in '80s pop, synthesizers, and big-budget pop production. Opening with the party-starting "Set It Off," Faber Drive embraces every aspect of over the top 2010 radio pop, with fragmented vocals delivering a Ke$ha-like melody, a crazed party-starting chorus, and even a vaguely dubstep-influenced breakdown. "Candy Store" builds its sweets-for-the-sweet metaphors around an acoustic guitar figure before rapper Ish arrives at the coda with a routine that drops names of various candy bars into his pickup lines, the entire song falling into the same ├╝ber-catchy, somewhat corny pop arena as Train, Jack Johnson, and the like. Lost in Paradise is filled out by a fair number of dancey club anthems, with four-on-the-floor stompers coming in the form of "Dead on the Dancefloor," "Do It in Hollywood," and "Don't Stop." Even though Faber Drive's shift from a pop-heavy rock band to an over-produced dance-pop band is really just a matter of bringing up the synths and taking down the guitars in the mix, there's something undeniably contrived and almost a little desperate about Lost in Paradise. While some songs are catchy, many of the tracks feel constructed by a lab team somewhere with climbing the Top 40 charts in mind and nothing else. After the initial sugar buzz of the high-gloss production and chemically treated hooks wears off, we're left with a batch of pleasantly interchangeable tunes.

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