October 21, 2010

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Sister Hazel, Heartland Highway
Rock Ridge Music, Oct. 12

These happy-ass Hootie-bridesmaid second-bananas from the turn of the century have one major US hit to their name, 1997’s “All For You,” the get-this-thing-out-of-my-brain dentist-rock classic that commonly gets waiting-room-trapped people looking up from their 6-month-old issues of People to wonder if they’re hearing Hootie or Van Morrison, being that it’s a little of both. Sister Hazel’s (they’re all boys, you know, isn’t that weird?) Peavey amps remain set to move-that-soccer-mom-butt level all throughout their 8th album, no samples, no technical whiz-bang-ery, no surprisingly innovative chill, no curveballs, no Black Sabbath, no nothing, just one more brick in the Great Pyramid of Doctor’s Office Rock, stuff to read last year’s Vivica Fox interview by (“wow, she got old!”) while you wait to see if you’ve got the cancer or the diabetes, which, if either’s the case, at least you’re not in this band. I mean, they’re nice guys and stuff, you know, and they give Goo Goo Dolls’ “Name” an enthusiastic leg-humping during “The Saddest Song,” which, you must admit, does stand as irrefutable evidence they’re possessed of keenly refined taste in unflavored gelatin. B-

— Eric W. Saeger