Record Review - 2 August 29 2001

The most surprising thing about Seven Mary Three's fourth album is that it's been released at all. You'd have thought that after a trio of fruitless stabs at the mainstream, this previously platinum-selling quartet would realize there's little place for them as post-grunge, sub-Collective Soul clones with a handful of memorable songs. But they've learned from headliner Matchbox Twenty that a few hummable melodies latched onto simplistic riffs and sung by a hunky passion-soaked singer is enough to sell some albums and even land you soundtrack placement on this summer's teen flick Crazy/Beautiful.

Like "CHiPs" — the '70s cop show from which they nicked their awkward name — SM3 is likeable but ingratiatingly empty entertainment; fine for temporary pulse-raising, but leaving no lasting impression. Guitars grind, lead singer Jason Ross emotes, the songs grovel to an acceptable level of excitement in a Vertical Horizon way, but after it's over you'll feel emptier than after that Chinese dinner you wolfed down a few hours ago.

More insidious than a blatantly bad album, The Economy of Sound is a sense-dulling attempt at significance by a group whose 15 seconds of fame have elapsed faster than Eric Estrada's smarmy info-mercials.

Seven Mary Three play HiFi Buys Amphitheater Fri., Aug. 31.??