Two Wounded Birds Two Wounded Birds

The trouble with hitching your wagon to another band's star is you'll always be compared to said star, often with good reason. Like the Drums, whose guitarist, Jacob Graham, released this debut album on his Holiday Friends label, Two Wounded Birds like fusing the pulsing bass and synths of '80s pop with '50s and '60s pop harmonies. Unlike that NYC crew though, the English quartet swing for the fences, intent on creating stadium-filling anthems for the ages. On the record's best tracks ("To Be Young" and the slow burning "If Only We Remain"), they come pretty damn close, but even with all cylinders firing, Two Wounded Birds can't transcend their influences, coming across like a poor imitation of the Killers. The band are far better served when mining classic pop tropes, like on spritely opener "To Be With You," where their energy and enthusiasm trump the track's derivative nature. There's a great deal to like on Two Wounded Birds' debut, but the triumphs are overshadowed by the group's influences. (Holiday Friends)