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The Dig, Human, Under Pressure, Dark Summer Dawn, Osaka Cocka Rocka, Simulacrum, Portuguese Prince

Full Service, Point of Contact, Ember, Deejer, Rockland Eagles, Distant Light, and Goldcure

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Aug. 1, 2008

Texas Platters

Full Service isn't ashamed to ride the coattails of 311 and Snoop Dogg. The local quartet is currently trailing the 4:20-enthusisiasts' joint tour across the country, setting up impromptu shows in the parking lot beforehand. That same sort of mentality permeates the band's fifth album, The Dig, with decidedly white reggae-rock grooves that wander into frat-rap ("Tasteless Gravy") and funk-pop ("Blueberry Farm"). Likewise, Point of Contact's second album, Human, proves an ample opiate for Tool aficionados, guitarist/vocalist David Cloud channeling the cryptic croon of Maynard James Keenan. With 17 songs clocking in at nearly 70 minutes, however, the placebo effect quickly wears off. Ember's third EP, Under Pressure, throbs major label potential, recalling the generic drivel of Blue October and Nickelback and having some edge, though not enough to slice an apple. The same goes for the second outing from Deejer, Dark Summer Dawn, which adds a bit of political angst and moodiness to the equation but little else. Rockland Eagles' first new album in six years, Osaka Cocka Rocka (Almost There), sounds rocketed straight from Detroit Rock City circa 1975, stuffing its pants with three-prong guitar pyrotechnics and stadium-sized bombast. Distant Lights is nothing if not ambitious. The quintet's debut, Simulacrum, is a concept album that details the internal struggle of a straggler in a postmodern wasteland, landing in the black hole between the alt-rock epics of Coheed & Cambria and Muse. At its best, Goldcure's debut, Portuguese Prince (Sorin), finds the local quartet wavering from the more guitar-oriented moments of Coldplay ("Never Alone," "Beautiful Disaster") and Arcade Fire's anguished romanticism ("Too Long"), only without the orchestral swells or dire sincerity. Their Christian undertones only thicken the positive vibes rippling through the harmonies and earnest lyricism. There's no telling how far coattails will take you.

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