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No More Wasted Days

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On first listen, No More Wasted Days sounds like an album ready-made for a TV drama: sensitive, soaring at moments, bass- and guitar-driven. This is pop rock from top to bottom, designed to draw mainstream listeners. Lead vocalist Tyler Glasgow sounds a bit like John Mayer and the tunes would be at home on the radio.

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Yet, while I usually say "pop" with a sneer, the more I listened, the more I found myself enjoying Places' sophomore effort. The seven-member band, which has ties to Missoula and Denver, delivers something many pop groups don't: real musicality. The harmonies take risks that work. The lead guitar is particularly strong. "Walking on Water" is a hit-the-road, roll-the-windows-down, sing-along romp. The quiet "A Fine Line" showcases more nuanced vocals and musicianship. True, the lyrics aren't particularly inspired, and the band occasionally sounds muddy, like on album opener "Honesty." But at other moments, Places sound polished and powerful, with the poise of a band that's been together far longer than their three years.

Places plays a CD-release party Friday, Feb. 10, at The Top Hat with The Canopy and Sick Kids XOXO. 10 PM. $5.

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