Underride 

Distorted Nation

I've been waiting for the melodic hard rock fad to finally curl up and die. So far, it continues to spread its offensive mediocrity like a terrible oil spill killing everything real in its path. Bad metaphor? I don't know. Both things make me mourn diversity.

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In its press release, Seattle's Underride actually has the audacity to say that it's trying to save rock and roll. Well, if by that they mean they're trying to save 1980s hair band rock then they're doing a pretty good job. Not that that's a bad thing. Hair metal has its place. Here's the thing about the band Underride: It is a kind of melodic hard rock, but it doesn't seem at all as humorless or faux-angsty or uninspired as so many others do.

On Distorted Nation, you can hear a little bit of nothing-but-a-good-time style Poison. Plus, one of the guitarists is named Suzuki Sixx, which totally gives it away. But the band also offers a hint of 1990s stoner rock, 1980s new wave, and, especially, when it comes to balls-out solos, a hint of sassed-up rock a la the Supersuckers. They're still a little bit on the fuzzy melodic side for my tastes. But the spirited cover of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" is nothing short of spectacular.

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