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ALBUM REVIEW

Vertical Horizon: Everything You Want

Fiendishly addictive pop

By Daniel J. Katz

Staff Writer

After many hours in the laboratory trying to combine the guitar pop hooks of Matchbox 20 with the dulcet vocals of Duncan Sheik, scientists have created Vertical Horizon’s new album, Everything You Want. The result is a little shallow, but it’s extremely pleasant and one of the catchiest albums of the year.

I’m not quite sure why I like this CD so much. It has the derivative pop structures that usually make me despise an album. To make matters worse, all the songs sound extremely similar, with choruses that always get louder with lyrical phrases that always get shorter and always get held longer. But the repetition is somehow overshadowed by the delicate harmonies and simple but skillful guitar parts. I’m told this album utilizes electric guitars much more than the band’s early releases. I’m inclined to see that as an improvement; the songs just wouldn’t seem complete without a powerful sound.

The album kicks off with the current single, “We Are.” It’s a well-written power pop song, but the appearance of heavy guitars at the beginning makes the arrival of the chorus somewhat anticlimactic. The contrast is a lot more effective in songs like “You’re a God,” and one of my personal favorites, “Finding Me.” Both have a very warm reassuring tone, and are catchy enough by far to qualify as radio singles.

There are also a number of songs with a more soft, ballad-like quality to them. These range from the calmly droning “Give You Back” to the title track, which combines a constant guitar delay sound with haunting acoustic guitars to create a track that sounds like the best song Duncan Sheik never got around to writing.

The biggest departure from traditionalism comes in the last two tracks: “All Of You,” which retains the band’s pop sensibility but is a bit more aggressive and disjointed, and “Shackled,” a surprisingly dark and heavy song which finishes off the album. Lyrically, the album sticks to simple relation-based lines that you could easily get from Matchbox 20 or Eve 6 (or some other poppy number band).

Everything You Want is not a revolutionary album. It brings nothing new to the world of music whatsoever, but it’s still enjoyable. If you’re a fan of the guitar rock end of Top 40 or a music aficionado who doesn’t mind sitting down with a nice simple album, give Vertical Horizon the benefit of the doubt. Just don’t expect songs that will change your life.