Helicopter Helicopter Wild Dogs with X-Ray Eyes

Pop rock. It’s the no-mans-land of musical genres, where even its best and brightest have the shelf life of thawed meat. The ratio of entertaining to painfully annoying is unreasonably high and yet every year, we’re given the choice between hundreds of new additions. Helicopter Helicopter, a four-piece from Boston, unabashedly take it on with surprising skill, running through 12 familiar and straight-forward tracks that, for the most part, make up for the lack of originality with intriguing lyrics, strong harmonies and the kind of immediacy the Foo Fighters have long since traded off to make more room for Grohl to sneer and rock out. Just about all of these tracks have a readymade FM radio sheen to them, but, as can be heard on "Harsh Light,” "The Devil,” "Like Detroit” and "Time Machine,” the songwriting is often good enough to seem out of place in its rather unexceptional production. And yeah, this is a good record — great, even, if we want to keep this relative to its genre — but even its strongest hooks begin to fade after regular listening, as most pop records do, leaving us with just another pop rock group that could easily release a memorable record outside of the verse-chorus-verse confines. (Initial)