On its debut album, Carbon Choir shows off an undeniable mastery of the piano-and-falsetto, sensitive-guy rock form. The playing is skilled and the songwriting solid, even nuanced. Singer Joel Van Horne has a strong voice that falls somewhere between Thom Yorke and Chris Martin, with a touch of David Gray thrown in. Yet for all these positives, the album falls flat. The problem is, we're awash in a sea of this ColdFray vibe; from very special episodes of Grey's Anatomy to jewelry commercials, it's inescapable. And that's not even including most of the radio, every third arena-rock show and your mom and little sister's iPods. With such a pedestrian sound, Carbon Choir needs more than solid tunes to make an impression; it needs a miracle, and none are forthcoming.
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