On its debut, Last of the Cellophane, Redline Defiance sounds like Incubus -- a lot like Incubus. Nonetheless, anything the disc lacks in originality, it compensates for with impeccable production: Distinct separation between each instrument and colossal-sounding drum and guitar tones augment vocalist Mike Kellogg's cunning melodic sensibility. At times, however, the songs are weighed down by lyrical ineloquence and ambiguity. Take this quatrain from "The Big Show," for example: "Purpose of bigotry/Surface that you can't perform until they all require/Why after all this time is the big time/Why wait it 'cough' wait it 'cough' wait." What? Without engaging the listener with pertinent themes -- situations or thoughts they can relate to -- it's a challenge to really resonate on a massive scale, no matter how strong the melodies are. Ironically, Redline finds more success when it plays it straight, such as on the title track: "I sit at home alone and run the words along, making sure that every syllable has meaning." Who knows, though? Perhaps injecting abstract prose into the pop context is Redline's defiance.
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