Labb – Driving Your Shadow

Driving Your Shadow

Right from the first song, Labb is exactly what you would expect from what they claim to be on their own website: indie pop rock. While pop-rock might not be everyone’s cup of tea, Labb is surprisingly pleasing in their delivery, most of the time. Although having a tendency to fall into musical cliches and repetition, their second release, Driving Your Shadow, just barely stays on the positive end of the originality spectrum.
The first of seven songs, “All Those Things,” is actually the standout of the LP, delivering a nice punk-ish feel in the beginning to give way to a power-rock chorus. Founder and namesake Dana Labb (singer/guitarrist) offers a Dave Grohl-meets-Bob Mould vocal styling over a wall of dual guitar sound, backed up by driving rhythm from the bass and percussion. The typical power-pop formula, but executed nicely for what it is.
The second song, “Fourteen Hour Date,” is somewhat disappointing, as it basically restates the ‘date and sex’ archetype with different lyrics. The hookiness of the guitar is almost frightening, but one can’t help but smile as it flows. Guitarrist and co-founder John Sares is truly showcased on this song, his eclectic leads so smooth they are still in my head. Despite that, this seems an almost ‘stock’ pop song. I could hear it on the radio as the ‘I might be sleeping over’ song (re: Puddle of Mudd’s “Control,” known nationwide for two weeks as the ‘smack my ass’ song).
The next two songs are honestly mediocre at best. “Drinking Words” is the album’s ‘progressive song,’ utilizing a more relaxed riff than the previous tracks, but still predictably launching into the loud chorus every time. “Shovel” is opened by bassist Jesse Carroll’s amazingly simple bassline, almost immediately afterwards lanuching into another power chorus, which by now is starting to wear thin. “Those are the Breaks, Kid” is another promising song, at first sounding like another Jimmy Eat World song, but the power chorus in this song is much more hard-hitting and flows much better with the verse than in other songs. The vocal execution is near perfect in this song, as is the rest of the band. Drummer Mora Precarious drives this song perfectly, and Carroll/Sares hold their parts down perfectly. And to top it off, they end the song at an unpredictable juncture, which tops off this excellent song nicely. “SteadyUnsteady” is a great closer, as it moves in a softer direction in contrast to the bounce of the rest of the album. It’s a surprisingly pretty song, with an excellent guitar solo at the end. Excellent closing to the CD.
In summary, Labb is power-pop, which I’ve said seven times already. Why? Because that’s what they are. If you don’t like power pop, don’t get this album. If you do, get it. It’s that simple.