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(230 Reviews)

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  • Hoobastank–despite the rather unappealing name–has a good chance of being very big. They are hard, heavy, fast, but also quite melodic, with excellent singing (and occasional screaming) by lead vocalist Douglas Robb. He and guitarist Dan Estrin are the primary songwriters, but bassist Marku Lappalainen does contribute to some songs. The drumming of Chris Hesse is tight, and even funky at times. Hoobastank are both accessible and heavy, and those are good ingredients right there. They just need to start branching out a bit further on their second album. This is a band that is young, hungry, and things are really beginning to happen for them. Already their self-titled debut has gone platinum plus, largely on the popularity of the extremely catchy first single “Crawling In The Dark.” I love this song! Its lyrics are fresh and honest, and the music alternates between mid-tempo and fast. So, after buying this CD as part of a package deal, I’ve finally gotten the chance to sit down & listen to the rest of it. The Verdict: It is a solidly good CD that packs a strong punch on several tunes, but offers very few surprises.One of these surpises is the CD’s length–or lack of it. Although it sports 12 tracks, HOOBASTANK is only about 39 1/2 minutes long. This means that the songs get to the point real quick, so the CD doesn’t become boring; it’s just that many of the songs do sound kind of the same after a while. “Crawling In The Dark” is still the best and most distinctive song on here, but I don’t think that Hoobastank will join the ranks of one-hit wonders. I like “Let You Know” with its funky vibe and solid harmonies. The real surprise is “Ready For You” which sounds very much like Blink-182 on the verses. It’s real catchy, and I suspect that this will be released as the second single. The band storms right into the heavy, thrashy “Up And Gone” which reminds me of early Incubus. “To Be With You” is the one slow, mellow song, and it’s sensitive without being too sappy. But then the ’stank roar back with their closer, “Give It Back.” This is a fast, furious, heavy track in which lead singer Douglas Robb alternates between singing, screaming, and even rapping a la Fred Durst. It’s really cool, except for the weirdness at the very end, which sounds like the band’s either making fun of potential critics, or themselves. Whatever the case, this CD is a good start from which to build Hoobastank’s career.Just a final note: Hoobastank may be compared with certain bands (probably the closest comparison is with Incubus, although there’s definitely no plagiarism here), but they sure don’t look like other bands. I like the band’s diversity: Douglas Robb is half-Japanese, Marku Lappalainen is Finnish, and Chris Hesse is German. Hoobastank can’t be accused of being a cookie-cutter rock band; instead, they sure are a talented one–and they do rock hard! RECOMMENDED

    Posted on February 23, 2010