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August 14, 2007

CD Reviews 8-15

BalanceChamberflow(EP)It can get worse than Balance, a lethargic gnome lost in a jungle of mediocrity, but not much. All bluster and no balls, this record genuflects at the altar of post-grunge alt-rock popularized by Our Lady Peace and Nickelback.    Hey, you like what you like, but the failure here is that ChamberFlow hasn’t managed to get up off its knees long enough to see how far the public has come since 1994, effectively dooming the group as an anachronism, or worse, devoid of any shred of belonging.    Lazy, flat production keeps the songs sanitary and nothing more, while singer and guitarist Brendan Kavanaugh’s ill-mannered F-bombs smack of a stunted vocabulary rather than the frustration he so desperately wants to convey. The 9,000-plus friends on Chamberflow’s MySpace page deserve better than them, and they should have it. Time to hit the rehearsal space. —Mat HerronDoctors of Dunk CompilationVarious Artists(DUNKENSTEIN)The new offering from Dunkenstein Records, Doctors of Dunk Vol. 1, is a surefire schizo. Then again, that’s the beauty of compilations: No two tunes are alike.    Arrangements here showcase a broad range of form and functional musicianship. From the serpentine (The Ever-Constant Sea’s “Street Justice”) to the quaking (Bodyhammer’s “A Fraction of the Answer”) to the atmospheric (Introvert’s “Drinking from the Sun”) and weirdly fantastic (Ultra Pulverize’s “Dracula Drives a Black Chrysler Concord”) the scope is unlimited, although I don’t see Rick Pitino dropping the Cardinals’ band from home games anytime soon. Bummer. —Mat HerronOur Love to AdmireInterpol(CAPITOL)Yes, Interpol still sounds an awful lot like Joy Division, albeit a somewhat better-recorded version. Singer Paul Banks still can’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket — his stentorian, four-note range is the most prominent aspect of Joy Division’s sound copped by Interpol, and it ain’t the only one. But talent borrows, genius steals and whatnot, I suppose, which makes it fairly easy to overlook all that and appreciate Our Love to Admire on its own merits. “No I in Threesome” is one of the best song titles I’ve heard all year, and better still, first single “The Heinrich Maneuver” is one of the most enjoyable, propelled by one of Carlos D’s patented simple, memorable bass lines and a nagging guitar hook from Daniel Kessler. Sam Fogarino’s tribal pounding and another hypnotic Kessler guitar figure power “Mammoth.” But elsewhere, especially on the dreary, tuneless final track “The Lighthouse,” things bog down, and Interpol doesn’t sound as cool as it did two songs ago. Classify Our Love to Admire as a good album, but prepare for the rough spots. —Jay Ditzer