With their major-label debut, Seven Mary Three
rode the Pearl Jam
bandwagon to commercial success with a combination of crunchy guitars and angst-filled lyrics; the follow-up, 1997's Rock Crown
, was more introspective and stripped-down, almost turning 1995's American Standard
into "Americana Standard." It stiffed. So, for Orange Ave.
, they take chunks of both predecessors and come up with a scattered work, one that's not quite sure if it wants to be another post-grunge dip in the radio well or a soul-searching, acoustic-guitar-strumming personal statement. If it was up to Jason Ross, it would probably be the latter. His musically intimate songs (like the radio hit "Over Your Shoulder") are more focused, thoughtful and tuneful; the big rock numbers, however, are as awful as anything that's come from grunge's floodgates opening. This album reflects the sound of a band at the crossroads.