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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Grand Unification

Rating: 6/10 ?

April 17, 2007
Walking the fine line between hardcore and modern rock you'll find Fightstar, the latest endeavor of former Busted frontman Charlie Simpson. On his new band's Trustkill debut, Grand Unification, the pop-punk leanings of Simpson's roots are largely absent, instead having been replaced by aggressive, straightforward riffs and frenetic drumming. While clearly divergent, this new, harder-edged format is one which is actually well suited to Simpson's vocals.

The melodic tendencies from Busted do resurface in some instances, such as "Sleep Well Tonight," which finds Simpson's layered harmonies and even gentle balladry at work between scream sessions that, in contrast, sound quite out of place. Elsewhere, "Lost Like Tears Like Rain" lingers too long in the shallow pond that is emo, moving Fightstar further from establishing the credibility a hard rock debut works toward in the first place.

Pitfalls aside, there are some fairly solid songs here, such as the two part title-track, in which Simpson delves into a groove along with his bandmates. These tracks offer Fightstar at their most cohesive and show signs of things to come. "Mono" sweeps heavily while lumbering at a slow enough pace to build toward the album's best instrumental moment.

Even with various bright spots, Grand Unification is an album in search of a genre by a band finding that it's slow going when it comes to establishing an identity.

Reviewed by Matt Conner
A contributing writer, Matt Conner lives in Anderson, Indiana.

See other reviews by Matt Conner



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