Miss Montreal

So... Anything Else?

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AllMusic Review by

Miss Montreal steer clear of sophomore slump on So… Anything Else?, delivering a fine mix of singer/songwriter rock and power pop with a tinge of '80s nostalgia, but while the record has many good sides, it fails to capitalize on any of them enough to become a true gem. The songs are born from simple chord progressions strummed on acoustic guitars and are carried by the vocals of Sanne Hans (who is Miss Montreal), whose voice is definitely rough around the edges, but powerful enough to make the grit an advantage. The band takes care to make the tunes passably catchy -- the electric guitars may not be arena-sized, but they've got some nice licks, and the rhythm section is appropriately dynamic, unless it's the ballad time, though the slower tracks thankfully have the grace to never wallow in sappiness. The outcome bears an imprint of good-old days gone by, sometimes drifting close to Bryan Adams' pop rehash of heartland rock, sometimes suggesting Sheryl Crow or Meredith Brooks, and occasionally passing in view of pop-country -- never a bad thing to try, too. Avril Lavigne may come to mind, too, but there's the rub -- So… Anything Else? is never as monstrously catchy as the Canadian blonde or any other prime-rate guitar popsters, but on the other hand, Hans' lyrics are too bland and straightforward and her melodies not emotive enough for her to qualify for a real folksinger who just had the smarts to get a bunch of rockers for a backing band. It can be said for Miss Montreal, though, that while their love for old-school pop/rock is unfocused, it's also genuine, and so, while So… Anything Else? plays like a familiar record -- the kind that doesn't require much active attention -- even on the first listen, it's a comforting feeling.

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