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IF NOT the redoubtable force they were in the late 1990s, when their MOR monster Iris became a fixture on radio playlists, the Goo Goo Dolls have weathered lead singer John Rzeznik's occasional bouts of writer's block, embracing a maturing process that's taken them a long way from their brattish, Replacements-lite origins. After four years away, the Dolls' new record Something For The Rest Of Us has consolidated their solid mainstream sound, which is now more sombre but still reassuringly consistent and ploddingly predictable.

On this, the first night of their UK tour, a young crowd testified to the commercial perceptiveness of their creative blinkers, and singer and bassist Robby Takac still adopted fist-punching, rock'n' roll poses with Jack Black-like enthusiasm and sincerity.

Upbeat opener Sweetest Lie, with its anthemic chorus and echoing guitar reminiscent of U2, delivered a bittersweet emotional punch that was sustained through virtually all the new tracks, particularly the record's first single, the rousing Home – a song about soldiers serving overseas. Less successful were the mawkish Notbroken, about a veteran coping with the loss of his limbs, and the slushy sing-along that greeted Iris.

Takac may not be as strong a singer as Rzeznik, but his straining vocals delivered some variety to a set that too often slipped from anthemic rock into soporific drone.

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* Last Updated: 09 November 2010 6:14 PM
* Source: The Scotsman
* Location: Edinburgh
* Related Topics: Gig reviews
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