The Stills, 'Oceans Will Rise' (Arts&Crafts)

5
Oceans Will Rise
Critical Mass
Label: Arts&Crafts

by Josh Modell

Three albums in, the Stills still sound ambitiously confused. A brooding Interpol wannabe in 2003, the Canadian band ditched that sound (along with their singer) for 2006's more rootsy Without Feathers. The new Oceans splits the difference, then adds trad modern-rock polish: "Snakecharming the Masses" sits near Coldplay and Muse, while "Snow in California" is all wishy-washy, yacht-friendly Lite FM. Strangely, it's the most radio-baiting song -- the soaring, in-your-face rocker "Being Here" -- that sounds the most inspired. If they ever made an album full of comparable hooks, somebody might actually recognize the Stills in a crowd one day.

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