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Chris Allen 

Things Unbroken (ChrisAllenMusic.com)

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Singer-songwriter Allen sounds fine when he's down and out. When he gets to feeling good, it's downright contagious. Things Unbroken — the second solo record by the former frontman for Cleveland's alt-country darlings Rosavelt — is a more optimistic outing than 2006's Goodbye Girl and the Big Apple Circus. Producer Don Dixon — who's polished R.E.M. and Marshall Crenshaw — gives the album a vintage college-rock gloss. Songs like "She's a Fighter" and "Renegade" bounce and jangle like Paul Westerberg jamming with the Pixies. There isn't one downer here. Even the morosely titled "One Day Our Bad Luck Is Going to Save Us" chugs along like a freight train headed for happy days.

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