Dexter Freebish

Tripped into Divine

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After blipping the mainstream in 2000 with the catchy "Leaving Town," Austin's Dexter Freebish went the way of Nine Days and promptly disappeared. There's little on this self-released return to match "Town"; instead, Dexter have wrapped run-of-the-mill modern rock melodies around the frames of their influences. In other words, Tripped Into Devine couldn't be more obvious. "Ghosts (Voices in My Head)" screams Police, while "How Do I Get Through to You" has lead guy Kyle (come on man, what's your last name?) channeling Bono. He does the same thing on "Heavy" -- it's too bad Dexter sounds more like Vertical Horizon trying to sound like U2 than anything very original. Despite Devine's independent status -- it's unclear what happened to the band's deal with Capitol -- the album is as slick and polished as anything coming from the major-label stable. But from the crackling drum machine in the background of "What I Need" to the weird layered harmonies of "Pretty People," the studio sheen is just another smoke screen making it very, very difficult to locate Dexter Freebish in the bright, shiny plastic gloom. The late-album offering "No One Knows" does offer a bit of the Beatles songcraft that originally got them noticed, but it's not enough to save Tripped in Devine, which seems stuck between its clamor for the mainstream and just making decent adult alternative music.

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