THE SMASHUP
"Being and Becoming"

(Warcon/Fontana/Universal)

01. Never Going To Kill Us
02. No Name
03. The Beating of Your Life
04. Violencer Part II
05. They Were There
06. Dreams
07. House Aflame
08. Effigy
09. Rachel's Day
10. Murder to the Mattress

RATING: 6/10

I don't think it's politically incorrect to call bands like THE SMASHUP the 2006 model of "metal for chicks". This is show-tune hardcore, a candy-coated facsimile of the more underground strains of metalcore, meticulously designed to be a lifestyle accessory for Suicide Girls and eyeliner-bleeding MySpace drama queens, with just enough heavy parts to keep their boyfriends from feeling funny about buying the CD for them. If AVENGED SEVENFOLD is a little too riffy for you, and you think THE USED would be the biggest band in the world if they weren't so gosh-darn misunderstood, then THE SMASHUP would like a word with you.

The thing is, if the whole album was as interesting and ludicrously over-the-top as "No Name", it would be enjoyable despite itself, in a total sugar-fix guilty pleasure sort of way. The song is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink show-stopper worthy of Broadway, with vocal lines and backups careening merrily all over the map, and an off-the-rails performance from singer Watt White that out-vamps even the rest of his breathy, overwrought work on "Being and Becoming".

The rest of the songs have plenty of hair-tearing, chest-beating pathos and bloated emotion to spare — they just don't have much else going for them, aside from White's admittedly hearty delivery, and enough pretentious suicide note ramblings to mollify an entire chat room of gum-cracking pre-teen bloggers who think they know what tragedy is. There's no denying that it's all impeccably produced, as calculated and precise as if the songs were written on graph paper – it's just that if you're not part of its narrowly focused target demographic, you'll be left cold.

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