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MUSIC REVIEW: The Alternate Routes take familiar ones

The Alternate Routes take the road most traveled with "Good andReckless and True," a wholly conventional rock album.

Yet it would be wrong to simply dismiss the Bridgeport, Conn.,group as bland. Instead, the Alternate Routes project an empatheticnature with the non confrontational sound and light philosophy of"Good and Reckless and True." The familiar strains and time-testedstructure are even mildly infectious.

Call it "comfort rock."

Opening track "Ordinary" makes an apt (and aptly titled)introduction to the Alternate Routes' method. At first the song seemslike little more than a mundane, albeit heartfelt, singer-songwriterditty showcasing frontman Tim Warren. But it subtly builds until thelistener is sucked into its sweeping rock spectacle, which is keenlycapped off with a poignantly quiet close.

Other tracks have similar surprising impact, rising out ofdeceptively routine arrangements. There's the blues-kissed, waltzingslow cut "Hollywood" with its jabbing punch line, "It's hard tobelieve you can find what you're looking for anymore." Also, Warrendials down his nasal tendencies to deliver some seductive rock on"Going Home With You," and the hazy "California" recalls 1970sfolk.

The band also makes a point of proving its range - plugging into ablustery chorus during the electric spree of "Are You Lonely?" andfollowing that track with the rambling, piano-based ballad "The Blackand the White." But those songs don't have any emotional resonance;they're just musical exercises.

Actually it's a challenge to find anything exceptional on "Goodand Reckless and True," which essentially sounds like a deja vucollection of music for the Everyman.

However, that commoner appeal helped get the band's music on theMTV shows "Laguna Beach" and "The Hills," so it must be asubstantial asset.

"Good and Reckless and True" is released by Vanguard.

Rating: 3 (out of possible five)