Critic's Choice

The best mainstream acts can accomplish a couple of important tasks along the road to success: Their members become skilled enough to effectively emulate their heroes, after which they fuse their influences into a sound that's truly their own. Judging by Last of the Cellophane, a full-length whose arrival is being celebrated at a Friday, February 4, CD-release party at the Gothic Theatre, RedLine Defiance has reached the first of these goals. RedLiners Mike Kellogg, Brian Larue, Emerson Willis and Carlos Martin specialize in melodic, radio-friendly hard rock of the sort exemplified by the disc's title track, yet they're also capable of playing the sensitivity card, as they do on modern power ballads such as "Phelon." Unfortunately, describing the music in more detail without invoking names like Incubus is damn near impossible right now. But since the group, which shares the Gothic bill with Strange Condition, the Zen Barons and Step Down, is only a little more than two years old, there's plenty of potential for growth. Will RedLine Defiance get stuck at the talented-mimic stage, or will it blossom into a band with a singular style? The suspense is incredible.


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