The first impression you have after hearing The Show Must Go, Hedley's third album, is that the punky Canadians are the stepchildren of Killers and blink-182. Hedley employ the same danceable beats that re-entered the rock lexicon during the late 2000s, and they mix them with simple, straightforward guitar licks and a vocal delivery that teeters on the brink of larger-than-life emoting. The pop-punk influence is responsible for the fact that the songs remain too down-to-earth to pull off the same Las Vegas kitschy flamboyance that Killers excel in, giving Hedley the vibe of a bunch of countryside guys who decided to impersonate pretentious rock stars. It's still as shamelessly primitive as it is catchy, though, which is the main requirement for this sort of music. As the album progresses, the band also dabbles in a variety of other styles that comprise the American rock mainstream (never mind that they are Canadians) -- there's some heavy blues, some post-grunge, and a piano-led semi-ballad that sounds intense enough to be on a Fray record. But the most amusing tracks are the hair metal numbers, a couple of which crop up over the course of the ride. Not that there's anything wrong with channeling Def Leppard and Guns N' Roses, especially when it's done at the same quality level as the rest of Show Must Go -- which is, as was already mentioned, pretty catchy, though not overbearingly so. But it's solid proof that the music of Hedley and other similar bands, despite all the new wave and punk gloss, has the same nature as the cheesy hard rock of yesteryear: it's shallow, frivolous, and unabashed fun of the type that is hard to praise in a serious company, but also hard to dislike. ~ Alexey Eremenko, Rovi

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