My Favorite Highway: How to Call a Bluff

Depending on how cynical you are, there are two ways you can look at My Favorite Highway: Either they’re a television music supervisor’s wet dream – and the latest withered apple to fall off the Something Corporate branch of the blink-182 family tree – or they’re every bit as earnest as they seem, and their full-length debut, How to Call a Bluff, is really just the front line in a new wave of bands whose members grew up listening to Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, and Everclear. Either way, there’s no getting around the fact that lead Highwayman David Cook is a songwriter with a gift for melody and his heart strapped firmly to his sleeve, and if that just happens to be exactly what it takes to get your music played in an episode of “The Hills,” that’s no reason to write the band off as a crass, watered-down facsimile of something that wasn’t all that great in the first place, is it? Well, again, that depends on your level of cynicism – but if you can bring yourself to listen to Bluff without hearing the strong echoes of the band’s influences, though, you’ll find it a veritable buffet of sweet, fizzy pop treats, all gleaming surfaces, sticky hooks, and giant choruses. If this Highway leads to less-traveled environs, some beautiful vistas could await. (Virgin 2009)

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