Every great musical trend reaches a breaking point. Sure, the band that jump-starts a movement usually deserves fame, and a few good bands follow, but a far-too-derivative act inevitably rings the death knell. Grunge had its Candlebox, boy bands had their 98 Degrees, and next up for expiration is the British post-punk revival. Fortunately, the house that Franz Ferdinand built won't be torn down just yet--not by Bloc Party, anyway. Silent Alarm follows the hype of the British quartet's self-titled EP from last year, and it's actually quite frightening how much of the album sounds tailor-made for radio domination, from the drum-crazy, funk-meets-new wave of "Like Eating Glass" to the lovely sprinkles of guitar, chimes and harmony vocals in "This Modern Love." It's hard to shake the feeling this is factory-produced pop--Silent Alarm often sounds too fluffy and airy, and tracks like "She's Hearing Voices," "Price of Gas" and "Little Thoughts" are only one or two paces from Franz Ferdinand songs. But this debut isn't hastily thrown together; discordant guitar lines and vocal parts are carefully arranged to pull off what sounds effortless and simple. Sharp songs like these don't go the way of Candlebox.
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