• 7.
    Bullet for Your Dreams
  • 8.
    Hot Mess
  • 9.
    Stormy
  • 10.
    Last Call
  • 11.
    I Won't Let You Go (Darling)

Review

Vancouver four-piece Hedley appear to have done everything possible to distance themselves from lead singer Jacob Hoggard's Canadian Idol background, whether through their heavily tattooed image or regular recruitment of producer Brian Howes (Puddle of Mudd, Nickelback), but their fourth album, Storms, suggests they're destined to forever be emo's answer to the Backstreet Boys. The rousing Fall Out Boy-lite "Hot Mess," the bratty punk-pop of "Bullet for Your Dreams," and the "us against the world" arena rock of "We Are Unbreakable" would all quite easily fit alongside the likes of Boys Like Girls and All Time Low on the soundtrack to the next hit U.S. high-school movie. But the follow-up to 2009's The Show Must Go always sounds more convincing when it embraces their boy band leanings, whether it's the heartfelt string-soaked balladry of "Heaven's Gonna Wait" and "Stormy" (the latter co-written with none other than Babyface); the nostalgic "Young," a jittery slice of unashamedly brainless synth pop complete with handclaps, stadium chants, and the obligatory reference to AC/DC; or the Savage Garden-meets-Lostprophets pop/rock of "Invincible" (featured here in its original form and a superfluous rap version with P. Reign). The unnecessarily eight-minute-long piano-led closer "I Won't Let You Go (Darling)," the drippy acoustics of "Beautiful," and the "lighters in the air"-ready "Last Call" drift into soppy over-earnest territory, but while it's unlikely to provide them with their international breakthrough, Storms is still an enjoyably big, brash, and bombastic affair that should consolidate their position as Canada's favorite rock band you can bring home to mother. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

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