In Lights (Satch)
Soldiers and Sadlers go hand in hand, apparently. In 1968, during the Vietnam War, Barry Sadler released the patriotic, chart-topping “Ballad of the Green Berets”. Four decades later, the YouTube video for Fear Zero’s “Last Photograph”, penned by frontman Ed Sadler, shows tearful farewells from baby-clutching wives, Iraq war scenes, and lines of tombstones.
However, the North Van–based band’s third CD doesn’t really aim to be a Canadian-style answer to Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends”. At its best, In Lights delivers catchy doses of postgrunge pop-rock that sound like every band signed to 604 Records. Sometimes it’s just in that “Haven’t I heard this before on CFOX?” way. As well, many of these 14 tracks sound like they were recorded after each band member had downed a triple-grande caramel macchiato.
The first single, “Breathe Again”, is a typical example. Start with a posse of partying, circling riffs that evoke a sped-up Collective Soul, add a tribute to Nickelback’s “Animals” when Sadler’s lead vocal enters, and end with a chorus that echoes the Foo Fighters’ “Learn to Fly”. Although Sadler has said he’s influenced by Nirvana, most of his output feels a tad cheerier than what Saint Kurt Cobain would have approved of.