It’s been 15 years since they last hogged the airways, and as long since Iris enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV — a channel now more enthusiastic about showcasing uncouth motorcycle riders than American rock bands. It is with this disclaimer, then, that one ought to press play on the band’s tenth studio album.
First, the bad news. Sonically, nothing appears to have changed for these guys since 2010’s Something for the Rest of Us. The band doesn’t appear to have evolved lyrically either, choosing these 11 tracks to explore mundane love affairs, much as they always have for over a decade now. The opener Rebel Beat acts as a template for the rest of the album: ‘We keep heading in the same direction. You’ve become my own reflection. Is that your soul that you’re trying to protect? I always hoped that we would intersect, yeah.’ It’s as if in trying to say a lot, they end up saying nothing of any significance.
Some tracks lift the mood a bit — Come to Me, for instance, and the rather pleasant Happiest Days, which tends to grow on repeated listening — but one is tempted to think of Magnetic as proof that this is a band, which has pushed itself into a corner and can’t seem to find a way out. Recommended strictly for fans who miss Iris.
— Magnetic, Goo Goo Dolls, EMI, R395. Available at leading music stores