Genuine Sun

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Return Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

On their 2008 debut Return, Genuine Sun comes across as that rare thing: post-grunge rockers without torment. In fact, for rockers they don't rock all that hard: most of the songs feel constructed around lead vocalist Dave Ritz's piano, which also gives them a heavier melodic quotient than almost any other mainstream post-grunge band. When Genuine Sun does try to either rock -- or in the case of "Throw Me Away," do a little bit of stiff-armed funk -- they sound ill at ease, as if they're putting on an act. They're far better off letting Ritz croon ballads and melodic, midtempo pop better suited for adult contemporary radio stations than arenas, as that is their niche: they are modern-day soft rock, built equally upon the jangle of Toad the Wet Sprocket and the earnest mainstream grunge of the Goo Goo Dolls. The lack of histrionic angst in both the band's arrangements and their songs makes Return a bit refreshing: Genuine Sun seems comfortable being the band next door, and there is some charm in that, as evidenced by this debut's best moments.

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