Sonic Reducer

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Lacking both the ingenuity and guts of piano stadium rock bands like Coldplay and Keane, Snow Patrol proves it’s destined to play second fiddle. Too many dull, slow and overly breathy ballads keep A Hundred Million Suns from gaining any momentum. When the band temporarily snaps out of its groggy stupor, the result is a contrived, guitar-heavy, "let’s get everyone to clap their hands" attempt at straight-shooting rock. "The Golden Floor," at least, has a catchy pseudo-Latin rhythm and ambient, smoothly textured vocals–a welcome surprise. But Snow Patrol keeps itself too boxed in to break out of its tightly confined niche. (SM)

Escape The Fate This War Is Ours (Epitaph)

Known for its hardcore, post-’80s sound, on its second album Escape The Fate has transitioned into a lighter sound similar to AFI. That’s largely thanks to the addition of higher-pitched vocalist Craig Mabbitt’s less intense, more pop-punk style. "Guillotine II" and "You Are So Beautiful" are nods to the old ETF. Other than those, you’re better off with the first album, Dying Is Your Latest Fashion . (TA)

The Cure 4:13 Dream (Geffen)

This is The Cure’s 13 th studio album, and it’s laden with 13 pining tracks. But the formula that once worked for the English group in the wake of a post-punk era, distilled in 1989’s Disintegration, has been used and abused by too many to name. Apologies if nostalgia is your cure–that’s exactly what lingers all through 4:13 Dream. The album is diggable, but it falters into a spoiled cesspool of redundancy. (JH)

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