The stab at suave, Steely Dan-ish sophistication that leads the album off is a welcome opening move, but by the time it cops the guitar riff from Natalie Imbruglia's smash "Torn" for its solo, you aren't fooled anymore. It's at this point you start to smell the rat that roams most of pop music's gutter. But perhaps it's the smoldering silliness of "Miles Away" ("today was a great day/I said what I meant/today was the worst day I've ever spent/I'm trying to be what you want me to be") that best embodies the inanity of modern pop. On it, the Verve Pipe goes the easy route and doesn't even hint at having grown up. Make no bones about it: Underneath is sharply aimed, well done, expertly produced, pleasant, catchy, and pretty sophisticated-sounding stuff. It's also vacuous and extraordinarily pedestrian rock music. And that's exactly the problem.
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