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Clever Dan 

I Believe in Me (myspace.com/cleverdan)

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Clever Dan melds explosive choruses and funky, hard-rock grooves, sounding indebted to such California bands as Korn, the Deftones, and particularly Incubus. But it's when singer Sean McFalls isn't courting a cease-and-desist order from Incubus' attorneys that the band really shines: Unlike Incubus, Dan's smart enough not to reach beyond its artistic capabilities, concentrating instead on concise songs that are catchy as hell.

The foursome gets the funk out on "Lucky Boy," as McFalls pays tribute to his father and son over acoustic guitars and bongos. (The song's lyrics aren't nearly as lame as the idea suggests.) "After Hours" is a real rocker that showcases the band's most valuable player, bassist Jordan Kelly, whose tasteful slaps and melodic runs are the backbone of the EP and merit a listen on their own. While a bit derivative, I Believe in Me is well executed, proving that there's nothing keeping California alt-rock from migrating to Cleveland.

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