Alien Ant Farm: Up in the Attic 

Time for another bout of déjà vu, or perhaps deja entendu is a better term. I say this because Alien Ant Farm's latest CD, Up in the Attic, is in the stereo this time around, and it's the best album Incubus has released this week. Considering the long lead-up to this album, including issues with their record label that delayed any releases from the band, that may be an unfair assessment, but I call 'em as I hear 'em.

Of course, if you like Incubus or any of the other bands of that stripe, that doesn't sound like a diss, and this may be a good album for you to pick up. It's solidly produced, and the band plays well at all times, but ... well, big deal. There are so damn many bands out there clamoring for your attention as music consumers that you can never listen to them all, so why waste time listening to bands that sound just like other bands? If a band doesn't grab you with stellar instrumental work or an amazing vocal range or killer songwriting or even just mondo style, why bother?

With this disc, even though there are some well-crafted tunes--"Crickets," "San Sebastian," and "Supreme Lifestyle" are the best of the bunch here--the work could have been done by any of the nu-rock bands haunting the Top 40 over the last few years. Call me a snob, but I like bands whose work stands out from their peers, bands whose skill or technique or style is so uniquely theirs that you can identify a song from them you've never heard before just by a guitar riff or a vocal trill. Alien Ant Farm, for all their slick studio skills, doesn't make that grade, at least not this time.

--Brandon Nolta

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