Golden State | Division

State Champ (2011)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  July 26, 2011
1.5 1.5 Stars

GS Main

A California-themed moniker isn't the only thing frontman James Grundler has carried over from his past. Much of the sound here is indistinguishable from his glossy, early-aughts Britpop-wannabe outfit Paloalto, and even his original bassist is back for a second go-round. So why not just stick with the same name? Because why title the band after a city when you can tie it into the whole state! "Golden State" suggests something bigger and bolder. There are definitely attempts at epic grandeur here, overeager as they may be. Grundler is still cribbing material from across the Atlantic, but instead of going for the U2-sized mountain, he looks admiringly over the shoulder of Muse. "Destroyer" shamelessly nicks elements of both "Uprising" and "Knights of Cydonia" while "Light Speed" echoes "Starlight." Hey kids, if you're going to rip off Muse, at least go back to 1999's Showbiz — fewer current fans know that material. Bright spots, despite predictable lyrics, include the instantly catchy, piano-driven "Save Me" and the soaring "Standing on the Edge of it All." But ultimately Division sounds at best like a heavier version of the Fray and at worst like a bunch of rejected Augustana songs. It's tailor-made for every show on the CW and little else.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, CD reviews, Division
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