The Very Foundation

The Small Reserves

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Fans of the Very Foundation's brand of leftover '90s rock won't be disappointed by any stabs at innovation on the Oregon act's debut full-length. Small Reserves -- a title that inadvertently points out what sounds like a lack of ambition -- busts out a well of respectable guitar riffs and teams them with wan lyrics, but it's difficult to get past the sense that the trio hasn't given much thought to crafting layers of interest. Lead singer Michael Lewis seems bent on not overburdening himself vocally, and though his guitar and St. Thomas' bass sometimes take a break from their E Street Band aping to venture down a lane well traveled by funk-rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, the detours come few and far between. A mid-disc replaying of a voicemail message about Lewis' misadventures feels gimmicky; an attempt to manufacture something subversive on a disc dulled by repetition and a lack of forethought.

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