It's a given these days: Major labels are filled with worse decision-makers than the Bush administration. Columbia Records, however, looks dumber than most for dropping Lovedrug before the release of its sophomore album. Everything Starts Where It Ends — picked up by the Militia imprint, which released the act's debut — is the type of mass-appeal rock record that major labels used to kill for. From the opener, "Happy Apple Poison," Lovedrug blasts off with indelible hooks and stadium-sized choruses, enhanced by such progressive flourishes as layered vocals, strings and piano. When the band tones it down for straightforward melodic rock on "Bleed Together" and "Ghost by Your Side," the results are equally impressive, while ballads like "Thieving" showcase singer Michael Shepard's lovelorn croon. Everything Starts Where It Ends proves that Lovedrug is not just coming into its own, but taking the first steps toward greatness.