Cedar Sturdy Soldier Do Your Worst

Fans of college-friendly mid-’90s alt-rock have an old friend to discover anew with Cedar’s debut. Album opener "Erosion” is awash in warm, slightly overdriven power chords, shimmering clean picking, driving double time hi-hat beats and a voice reminiscent of Dave Grohl in his more tender moments. The songs are fairly simple but the band make the most out of their arrangements, introducing enough ear candy to hook the sweet tooth of more than just the casual listening crowd, who’ll dig it for its comfortably memorable, familiar melodies. Occasionally, the group stray too close to plainly ripping off the music they would’ve grown up surrounded by ("Scared” borrows heavily from "Mr. Jones” in the chord structure), something a more careful producer’s ear would have detected and addressed. Cedar have too much of an instinct for writing catchy dream rock a cut above mainstream genre fodder like Mobile to slip into lazy, obviously clichéd recycling. (Independent)