The biggest obstacle facing Out of My Hands, the sophomore release and major-label debut from Fort Worth's Green River Ordinance, is that it's impossible to listen to the album without immediately being reminded of the glut of similar-sounding alternative acts from the late '90s: Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, etc. No doubt those are the largest influences on this clean-cut five-piece of rockers who are Christian, but aren't necessarily Christian rockers; the similarities are especially egregious on the song "Different (Anything at All)," which is little more than a slightly speeded-up, more energetic riff on Third Eye Blind's "How's It Gonna Be."
But let's not forget the forgettable here, folks. There's a reason why those acts were so prominent last decade: The songs were honest-to-goodness earworms. And that too is a formula Green River Ordinance knows quite well. Opening track "Outside" has all the potential of a Top 40 radio hit; the next track, "Come On," might as well be a leak from the next OneRepublic release; and the title track seems primed for the trailer of the next generation of She's All That-style teenage romantic comedies. These are testaments to the pop sensibilities of GRO, and to the capabilities of the album's producers: Mark Endert (who's worked with Natasha Bedingfield, Maroon 5 and Gavin Degraw) and Paul Ebersold (who's worked with 3 Doors Down, among others). And, no doubt, for an audience unfamiliar with the groundwork laid by this band's influences in the '90s, Out of My Head will serve as a go-to pop rock guilty pleasure.
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But for those who've long outgrown such taste, this sugary sound won't serve much purpose. For these folks, the sweet tooth has long been satisfied, and the cavities this sound created then are likely to leave only a bad taste today.