Lifehouse fascinates me in many ways, none of them musical. For instance, who would have guessed these guys would still be around ten years after “Hanging by a Moment,” let alone have enough major label clout to command the “deluxe version” treatment for its new releases? In an era when no one buys albums at all, how is it that a slightly more tuneful (and even more anonymous) version of Three Doors Down has managed to defy the odds? Where are all these fans of politely pained rock & roll coming from? And how funny is it that Lifehouse’s relentless pursuit of platinum-certified mediocrity has given the band’s longtime manager, Jude Cole, the meal ticket that his own recording career sadly failed to provide?
I digress. And I digress because Lifehouse’s latest album, Smoke and Mirrors, offers absolutely nothing the band’s fans and/or detractors haven’t heard before: Sleek, perfunctory rockers, mildly thrashing alongside ever-so-earnest ballads, alternated according to some accountant’s precise algorithm, all given portentous-sounding titles like “All In” and “It Is What It Is” and “Wrecking Ball.” The only difference between this and previous Lifehouse joints is that — and I wish I was kidding about this — one track features Daughtry and was co-written by Richard Marx. YOUR MOVE, SOCCER MOMS.
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