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Umbrellas

Illuminare (The Militia Group)

If Chris Carrabba became obsessed with Casios and Coldplay, his next album might sound a lot like Illuminare. Largely the brainchild of singer-songwriter Scott Windsor -- who has previously recorded under the Lyndsay Diaries moniker -- Umbrellas is the squeaky-clean soundtrack to every indie kid's imaginary alterna-prom. Hearts are worn on sleeves, choruses soar, strings swell, and the whole affair has the overblown, humorless air of an afternoon spent in the guidance counselor's office. Not that there aren't some moments of pop bliss on Illuminare: Tracks like "Angel or Demon" and album closer "We Fall" are reminiscent -- perhaps too much so -- of the softer sides of labelmate Brandtson. But where that Cleveland outfit succeeded on its most recent outing by exploring its multiple personalities, Umbrellas gets far too comfortable in its sensitive, mid-tempo groove, giving the record a smooth, dull veneer. The use of electronics and dance beats adds a unique dimension to Windsor's emo crooning, but did anyone really ask for such a Dance-floor Confessional?

 
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