"White Dwarf" opens Splitsville's fourth album Incorporated on a very high note. It is a mini-epic with breathtaking dynamics, passionate vocals, wall of guitars, and loads of feeling, as well as some truly majestic chord changes. The rest of the album can't help but pale in comparison, but it is a very strong, modern, power pop album. The band is poised as ever between the harmony-drenched sound of Teenage Fanclub and the energetic drive of Weezer, and they have come up with a handful of tracks that either of those bands would have gladly added to an album. The best song, other than "White Dwarf," is "I Wish I Never Met You," which rings true like a track off Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend or the Fannies' Bandwagonesque. The other standouts are "Headache," a chiming ballad with a neat Beatles' lift, "Sasha," which has great keyboards and an inventive arrangement, and "The Mentalist," a sweet-sounding ballad that builds and builds with the group ending up with some wonderful vocal harmonies. A few tracks fall into the tap of being too cutesy lyrically, like the fairly wacky throwaway rocker "Trouble." A few tracks have too heavy a guitar attack; "The Next One" is reminiscent of radio-friendly post-grunge, only without much of a melody. Incorporated is a tiny step down from the heights of Splitsville's previous album, the very fine Complete Pet Soul, but is a step above the average power pop revival CD. Certainly fans of the band won't be let down, and fans of the style should make sure to add it to their collection. -AMG
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