Miranda Sound Western Reserve

Three full-length releases later, Columbus, OH quartet Miranda Sound still haven’t figured out how to write a memorable lyric. That’s a shame, too, as the five-year-old unit excel at just about every other aspect of the original, creative alt-pop game. Complementary dual front-men Dan Gerken and Billy Peake trade vocal melodies throughout these dozen tracks, sounding a bit like younger versions of Bob Mould and Robert Pollard (including the faux Brit accent inflections). Musically, the band’s versatile approach is centred on clean, driving, up-tempo guitar pop. A knack for crafty arrangements, and the performance acumen to stop, start and change directions on a dime, keeps proceedings from ever getting boring or overly samey. Given the skills inherent, it seems Miranda Sound’s aversion to catchy, more obvious hooks is likely more about intent than inability. Commendable though that may be, the group’s lyrical penchant for boring, naval-gazing, first-persona narratives is not only regrettable, but makes the overall package come off as much more forgettable than it otherwise would. (Sunken Treasure)