Rockville LP [Best Buy Exclusive]

by: O.A.R.

Of a Revolution's eighth studio long-player and first outing for Vanguard Records, The Rockville LP finds Marc Roberge, Chris Culos, Richard On, Benji Gershman, and Jerry DePizzo returning to their hometown of Rockville, Maryland and reckoning with the emotional complexities that come from enduring an 18-year-long roller coaster ride that has often resulted in keeping family and friends, and even their own wants and needs, at arms length. O.A.R. has always been a band that reveled in the hacky sack inclusiveness of the jam band scene, offering up an easy, melodic, and always danceable infusion of '90s college rock and suburban reggae-pop that fell somewhere between DMB, Rusted Root, Ziggy Marley, and the Goo Goo Dolls, and Rockville is no exception, especially on cuts like "Two Hands Up," "The Architect," and "Favorite Song," the latter a sugary laundry list of willfully nostalgic yet often cringe-inducing pop references paired with wan personal moments ("You're My Stairway to Heaven/You're Freddie Mercury/You got a License to Kill/And, girl it worked for me") framed against the kind of affable, cruise ship-ready melody that has served as the group's m.o. since 1996. That said, the majority of Rockville relies less on the sunny, island pop anthems of the past and more on the past as filtered through the folksy coffeehouse affectations of adulthood, but the band is still incapable of producing anything truly revelatory, remotely maudlin, or even wistful for that matter. Warm and largely acoustic confections like "Peace," "So Good So Far," "Caroline the Wrecking Ball," and "We'll Pick Up Where We Left Off" are undeniably sentimental, yet far too on the nose, both musically and lyrically, to invoke anything stronger than a high five and a faceless sea of raised red Solo cups. [A Best Buy Exclusive was also released.] ~ James Christopher Monger

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