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American Rockstar 

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American Rockstar's third release plays like highlights from a week of shows at Peabody's, distilled into one 45-minute disc. The Cleveland trio (live, it's a quartet) shifts as seamlessly as possible from deep-growl vocals and double-bass barrages to "Whoa-oh-oh-OH-oh" choruses and riffs that practically gleam. The squeaky-clean mix captures a band that locks together with mechanical precision.

Unfortunately, these ace players have drunk too much of the spiked Kool-Aid at Camp Screamo. Flashing their expert chops, the bandmates reach an empty triumph on "Cruelty and the Pill," polishing away their rough edges until they sound like the MySpace generation's answer to Night Ranger. But if emo phenomenon Bedlight for Blue Eyes can accumulate 21,000 online friends by aping the worst aspects of Journey, then the infinitely preferable American Rockstar has everything it takes to become a sensation.

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More by D.X. Ferris

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