But what ultimately saves the Akron foursome from self-parody is exceptional playing and top-notch production. Guitarist Charlie Trenta is capable of real fireworks, letting loose with inventive leads like a young Nuno Bettencourt. Likewise, Hardy's breathy, emotive coo on the album's many radio-ready lite-rockers is sure to weaken ladies' knees. Crimson Rain occasionally veers into pop metal (the album closer "All Your Love" sounds like a modern-day Mr. Big), but if Hardy gets a grip on the gushing and dispenses with that "our hearts were meant to fly" talk, Crimson Rain could be headed skyward.
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