March 29, 2007

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Alternate Routes, Good & Reckless & True
Vanguard Records, 2007

With Katie Couric off on a crusade to sink CBS News’ ratings to Gilligans Island-rerun level, we all know the hideous swerve Horndog Viera’s going to put on the second these perfect-sounding pop-rock-boytoy-bots step off the Today Show stage, working her Talbots pantsuit mojo until the band’s as awkward as the rest of America. The Alternate Routes (try and imagine how many bands are kicking themselves right now for not coughing up the few hundred bucks needed to trademark that moniker) do deserve some modicum of suffering, though, since it’s hard to envision a more snow-pure lunge at Generation X periodontist-office speakers. This thing is stacked more carefully than Emeril makes a bologna sandwich, a do-while-loop of ballad, then rockout, then ballad, then rockout, all Gin Blossoms on U2 juice, not one flub to be found in the production or performances, every passage tweaked for Billboard. They’re at the Paradise in Boston on March 30. B- Eric W. Saeger