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Empty Bottle – 2010 (End Sounds)

Reviewed by Kevin Oliver

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CDs by Tumbledown

Now that he's two albums into this new band, perhaps the "MXPX member" tag can be taken off Mike Herrera's name or at least made a little less prominent. There's not much in common between the Christian pop-punk of that long-running group and his latest alt.-country sounding project, after all, other than perhaps the undeniable energy running through these songs - a product of the up-front mix from Stephen Egerton, who's worked mostly with California punk acts, such as The Descendents.

Tumbledown fits easily into the rock-leaning touchstones of the alt.-country crowd-Lucero, Old 97's, Uncle Tupelo, Blue Mountain, etc., but Herrera has a way with a hook and a chorus that makes the band's material fist-pumpingly listenable and tailor made for the sweaty confines of a dingy rock club.

It's the easy, familiar nature of songs such as Drink to Forget where the "Tears fall like wine," that's both the strength and the weakness of Tumbledown, succumbing to cliché and convention but embracing both in a way that makes this like a musical merry-go-round - it's a fun ride regardless of how many times around you've already been on it.