Style: Pop alternative; compare to Daughtry, Fireflight, 3 Doors Down
Top tracks: "Nerve Damage," "Smoke and Mirrors," "Here Tomorrow Gone Today"
Touring indefatigably since releasing their multi-platinum debut in 2000, Lifehouse, originally a Christian band formed under the moniker "Bliss," took a creative reprieve, huddling up in the studio to record 35 tunes in a year's time. Here, the Top 40 masters split track timbres between radio-ready and rock 'n' roll. For instance, "Nerve Damage" interrupts its alternative aggression with a bluesy guitar interlude and "Had Enough" balances rock and pop. Lyrically, Smoke & Mirrors delivers anthems of relationships sought and lost, but dwells on its dysfunction and subsequent surrender rather than adolescent infatuation, another sign of the band's maturation. Add insatiable melodies, fat beats, and kinetic rock to the mix, and this is one of the band's best.1