August 23, 2007

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The Last Goodnight, Poison Kiss
Virgin Records, Aug. 28
Atop a blowup horsie of Maroon 5 beach-pop and Five For Fighting soccer-mom-rock laze the chill-geeks of The Last Goodnight, committers of felonious assault with bridgework-safe bubblegum. Unlike competitors Alternate Routes, TLG have no qualms about pumping up their supersized hooks with thousand-voice refrains that could put Mechagodzilla in a romantic mood (“One Trust”), but beyond that is their ability to throw together old dusty AM-radio parts and make it sound a smidge more indie than Dashboard Confessional (hold your fire, we know). The staccato guitar of Foreigner’s “Blue Monday” plays a minor role in “Stay Beautiful” in the same fashion as a squelched Massive Attack drum track leads into “This is the Sound,” evidence that these preppy-looking high school mates from Connecticut haven’t ventured far into fringe culture. Apart from that needless cheap shot, the hooks are original, pretty and incessant, making this easily one of the best 30something-targeted AOR albums of the year thus far. AEric W. Saeger.