National Anthem Sing Along If You Know the Words

This full-length debut rocker from National Anthem is about as bold as the two-year-old Toronto band's name. Imagine a latter-day Sloan, minus most of the subtle, prettier pop moments, but with the addition of a lead singer occasionally given to Southern rock aspirations. That's one nutshell, at least. Similarities to the Halifax Can-pop deity may have more than a little to do with the fact that Brenndan McGuire produces here. Those familiar with the studio vet's work will know that means Sing Along If You Know the Words isn't lacking in the fidelity department. The songwriting is solid and more than capable too. Though relatively new, National Anthem's members have a career's worth of experience between them, as two of the four are former Grace Babies (including Anthem front-man/bassist Kevin Hilliard), while the others used to call Shifty and the Carnations home. The result of the exercise in scene alchemy is something akin to melodic classic rock that is neither overtly derivative (one "Sweet Jane” homage not withstanding) nor particularly fresh. (Riptide)