If your taste in music is so safe, bland and generic that you think Christian rock can get a little too "saucy," then you're in luck, thanks to Dallas' latest everything-on-the-radio clones Belafonte. Sure, there's something for every radio rock fan to like on this debut EP--after all, Belafonte apes every hit that has topped the past decade's rock charts, from All That You Can't Leave Behind-era U2 on opener "Hard to Keep" to a textbook-perfect take on Radiohead's The Bends in "Movin' On." Thing is, with all this mimicry, nobody in the band compares to an Elton John, Jonny Greenwood or Bono--Belafonte is decent at best, with Brian Hedenberg's forgettable singing style doing nothing to boost these tried-and-true song formulas, boring lyrics ("You said I can't take it, but I'm breathing/You said I can't make it, but I'm moving") and stale, feedback-filled guitar lines. The only performance that stands out is Johnny Lloyd Rollins' guest appearance on a song he wrote, "Let's Be Poor Together," and dudes, it's sad when your debut's only memorable song is thanks to a friend who isn't even in the band. Kudos to JLR, though.
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sam Machkovech