Live, Songs from Black Mountain

After hearing Live's seventh release I couldn't help but think that it has the most misleading album title since R.E.M.'s UP. Songs from Black Mountain sounds like it would be a mysterious, dark and ominous record from a band returning from the edge of obscurity with fire in their hearts. But that's not what you get. Instead, what you get is a band continuing their formulaic, modern rock sound. Not only is the music painfully familiar, but so are Ed Kowalczyk's lyrics. Kowalczyk is still revisiting his well-worn themes of spirituality, war and love. While these themes are always important and will be covered until the end of time, his statements don't feel as potent or as poetic as the ones made in 1994's Throwing Copper or 1997's Secret Samadhi. Though Black Mountain won't win over many new fans, die-hards will still get a kick out of Kowalczyk's amazing vocal work, especially on the first single "The River," the funky, Jamiroquai-esque "Sofia," and should-be next single "Get Ready." Also, the production team has beautifully mixed Black Mountain with clean multiple layers of sound that would work great on rock radio. It's just too bad that Live didn't create any memorable songs to steal our hearts with. (Epic/Red Ink)

Rating: 2 Out Of 5 Stars

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