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MUSIC REVIEW

Default

Falling in Place

By Ricky Rivera

Contrary to popular belief, Canada has produced some good rock bands. Our Lady Peace, Stabbing Westward, the Barenaked Ladies -- the list goes on and on. Now one more band can be added to this growing list: Default. The Vancouver, British Columbia natives’ debut album, The Fallout, delivers straight-forward rock that is refreshing and powerful.

The first track, “Sick & Tired,” opens the album with a burst of energy that lingers until the last track. “Deny,” the song that first launched Default’s success all over the Canadian airwaves, is a powerful mix of softer, ballad-like music and aggressive rock. It is a winning formula that is employed in other songs, including the current single, “Wasting My Time.” “Slow Me Down” does nothing of the sort, and the momentum continues to build. Default changes gears a little with “One Late Night,” the quintessential power ballad. The album is charged with an energy that the group manages to maintain from beginning to end, even in the slower tracks.

Dallas Smith’s vocal performance fits each song perfectly, and Jeremy Hora’s guitar-work is innovative enough to prevent Default from sounding like every other album that is out today. In any rock band, the guitarist can make or break the band, and Hora’s playing consistently keeps the band on the track. Danny Craig (drums) and Dave Benedict (bass) complete Default’s foundation of their no-nonsense rock.

The Fallout was produced by Rick Parasher, a Seattle native who helped make an album in the early 90’s by the name of Ten with a group of guys who called themselves Pearl Jam.

The problem? While Default certainly stands head and shoulders above many emerging new bands, rock radio already has a deluge of husky, baritone-voiced rock bands, such as Staind, Lifehouse, and Nickelback. Default is good enough to find a place in the spectrum, but are they good enough to stay there? It is quite possible that they are.

A few years ago rock was proclaimed dead. Now that it has revived itself, bands like Default will be the blood supply that keeps it alive. They are simply four guys who like to rock, and they do not worry about image or pretense. As a result, The Fallout is an album of rock music, and it stands proudly on its own two feet amidst an array of would-be imitators. Ultimately, and more importantly, Default’s debut release is simply good music that is worth a listen.