Published Jan 29, 2016POP ETC's Souvenir tells a story about being stuck in one place — sometimes quite explicitly, as on tracks like "Running in Circles."
Unfortunately, the music on offer here seems stuck in the not-too-distant past, evoking the last ten years of pop-rock — hints of Marianas Trench, Ra Ra Riot, the Black Keys and the Killers are all present — without establishing a unique style of their own to ground this smorgasbord of sonic references. The most consistent feature is Chris Chu's voice, which lands somewhere between Noah Lennox, Tom DeLonge and Wes Miles. Chu's lyrics are occasionally relatable — "If I can make it through this week I might be fine / That became my motto somewhere along the line" — but their flat delivery and the overproduction suck the life out of it, and the lack of focus makes these squeaky clean pop tracks feel like disposable units instead of crucial parts of a larger whole.
With all the recycled riffs on the album, there's nothing particularly memorable once it's over. Souvenir is like its namesake — fun to play with for a second but, ultimately, pretty forgettable. (Independent)