Vertical Horizon 

With Sister Hazel. Wednesday, February 7, at the Agora.

Betcha didn't know that, before faceless alt-poppers Vertical Horizon scored a number-one radio hit last summer with "Everything You Want," it had been around for almost a decade and released two studio albums and one live disc. We had no fucking clue. Hitching onto the wagon headed straight into obscurity led by former tourmates Third Eye Blind, the New England quartet offers a quiet sizzle of earnest, heart-on-the-sleeve love songs for sensitive types on its major-label debut, also titled Everything You Want. Smooth-domed singer Matt Scannell spends a good deal of time taking pity on himself -- he just doesn't deem himself worthy of the gals he's got the hots for. This might all be some shrewd tactic to get the girls to notice him, but more often than not, he comes off as a total weenie. There's absolutely nothing forceful about Vertical Horizon, but maybe that's the key to its success. With the rest of the music world piloted by aggressive rap-metal knuckleheads and in-your-face teen poppers, maybe Vertical Horizon's bland adult alternative rock is the new-millennium antidote to such tedium. No baseball-capped goons, no midriff-baring tarts, just four college-graduated guys in their 30s who happen to be saying exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. By the time they get around to recording the follow-up to their hit album, which is nearly two years old, they'll mean nothing to you. And we know why.

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