Behold, the new Wallflowers! Christiaan and Justin Webb, like Jakob Dylan, spring from famous musical loins and write decidedly middle-of-the-road rock. While the Webb Brothers favor '70s power-pop sheen over the Wallflowers' rootsy rock, Marooned would seem destined for the same success if this were 1976.
Today's conglomerate-rock market will marginalize this album despite its upbeat pop that recalls the British Invasion ("Summer People") and even Huey Lewis and the News ("Suddenly Awake"). The album's biggest problem lies with the way producer Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths) glossily coats the ambitious arrangements.
Little blemishes, like a cracking voice or a guitar solo's false note, can heighten emotion and tension. This disc, on the other hand, is sonically flawless, with each perfectly measured Mellotron flourish and vocal harmony airbrushing over the song's emotional core. Marooned's stand-out track, "Low Grade Fever," suffers from this approach the song possesses a hint of a twang and a wonderfully unpredictable melody, but the numerous keyboard and vocal overdubs obscure rather than accentuate the downtrodden lyrics.
Christiaan and Justin Webb have the potential to write melancholy laments reminiscent of Ray and Dave Davies, but unfortunately, on Marooned they only approach the depth of Noel and Liam Gallagher.