Vertical Horizon’s “Go” Stalls

For an up-and coming band, Vertical Horizon’s latest album, “Go,” in stores Sept. 23, 2003, is a good start. However, the band is not new to this game.

Vertical Horizon has 12 years of experience, such as playing alongside Third Eye Blind, Dave Matthews Band and the Barenaked Ladies in promotion of their last album, “Everything You Want.” One would think these guys would have picked up more experience with uncle Dave, musically as well as in their personal lives. But this doesn’t show through on their new album “Go.” Vertical Horizon has definitely proved their understanding of a consistent and a solid format on “Go.” But for an album called “Go,” one expects more acceleration.

Individual songs compile into one giant song. There is too much security in the formula. The peak of Vertical Horizon’s previous hits singles, such as “Best I Ever Had” and “You’re a God,” have not been reached. There’s no climax, causing the sound to drag. Maybe this is just a movement into a relationship with the band’s music that is misunderstood. But I’m not in it for the sugary lyrics and poppy love angst of so many tracks. Track two, “I’m Still Here,” drones on like an ex who won’t go away. Vocalists sing on and on about being alive and burning bridges, ashes and rivers and other traditional life experience malarkey. Track eight lulls by like a preteen riverboat stuck in the mud, holding the chorus south of exceptional. Both songs are meant to be expressions of devotion and instead come out like gum on your shoe. But really, devotion is overrated. It’s time to move on.

You get the feeling these guys have gotten girlfriends and settled down. Great for them, but what happened to rock and passion? This is just averaged drums and guitar with an overproduced alternative spin. Vertical Horizon’s new CD just feels like an exceptional fling you went back to just to discover the boy’s lack of va-va-voom. Hopefully for Vertical Horizon the propaganda will hold them through to future albums and they will have the opportunity to redeem themselves. One hates to see these guys be blown off for good. They have the ingredients but they’re baking with too much sugar and not enough heat and spice.

I’d consider this a mediocre album of alternative rock/alternative/pop. This band should be stepping out with its recognition and building on their accomplishments and instead they are going on “Forever” like the four minutes and 26 seconds of track three. The impression is that Vertical Horizon got scared to break the mold and instead is settling for production.

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