June 18, 2009

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311, Uplifter
Volcano Records, June 2

The newest from 311 succeeds as a some-thing-for-everyone rock album, even if there should be a moratorium on boy bands sounding like Poindexters. Nothing’s perfect in this life, and so leadoff song “Hey You,” despite its nicking of the Kinks in the guitar department, has the basest sort of sucky, sing-songy chorus that makes 311 311; it’s dopey-friendly enough for summer drives when Maroon 5 is just too wimpy, but this tune alone will have the pothead kids hating the album instantly and reaching for the Dillinger Escape Plan like a fish flopping for water.  Stick with it, though, and along comes the wide-screen coolness of “India Ink”’s chorus blowing up from the midst of a restrained groove that’s borderline Rob Zombie. The real slog is makeout-emo ballad “Two Drops in the Ocean,” which anyone who’s ever been in an elevator will grok as a ponderous Stevie Wonder ripoff. The total package, however, is a decent mixture of quiet-loud-quiet ’90s stomp, Linkin-Park-ish rap-metal (“Jackpot”), honky-reggae-pop (“Daisy Cutter”) and ’80s hard rock (“Something Out of Nothing”) with guitar solos (something the kiddies better be prepping for, as every band on earth will be back doing that business in the coming months). B+Eric W. Saeger