November 15, 2007

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Hurt, Vol II
Self-released, Sept. 25
Hurt didn’t hit the New Artist chart at #1 simply because their drummer’s the son of Zep/Van Halen producer Andy Johns; they’re worthwhile because they treat nu-metal like the urinal it is. Best described as a cross between Live and Candlebox, they’re organic without telegraphing such, like a crew of hillbillies out to throw a monkey in the wrench of a Linkin Park listening party, sort of like Dropbox but with real purpose in life and no sourball-puckered Creed vocals. Their entire trip can be grokked for what it is through a few listens to teaser single “Ten Ton Brick,” a drag-and-drop exercise in ringout riffage, Ozzy arpeggios and front-guy J. Loren’s feigned instability. When in ballad mode, they don’t screw things up by playing fist-in-the-air cartoon characters, this demonstrated in “Aftermath” through simple but wonderfully ambient piano/guitar interplay and Loren’s fragile — occasionally croaking — normal-dude vocals; the song works not just on the level of Bic-flick arena-metal-stopper but could have made it onto any modern pop record. Only misstep is “Abuse of Sid,” whose refrain is pure Candlebox filler. B-Eric W. Saeger