On their first two records, The Whigs heralded a short turnaround time for the ’90s alt-rock sound. The band’s in-your-face hooks, which revisited the 1990s’ booming, guitar-driven style, seemed destined for arenas worldwide. But after sampling the stadium life while touring with Kings Of Leon, the group apparently can’t wait to get there, and its impatience resulted in the pandering In The Dark. That transition was made easier by the departure of bassist/co-songwriter Hank Sullivant, whose musical sensibilities were always a touch more experimental and nuanced. (Sullivant formed the fantastic Kuroma in 2008.) The new lineup is unquestionably on board with the plan, ready to excise their songs’ rough parts and cover the lacerations with a fat layer of production polish. At times, Parker Gispert’s voice is buffed clean of any individual characteristics; at other times, it’s contorted into a hackneyed imitation of Southern rockers such as Jim James. The album’s best moments, unsurprisingly, are those in which the band lays off the mixing knobs. The pounding “Someone’s Daughter” is a raspy, snarling glut of reverb and bass, while the closing “Naked,” at more than six minutes long, soars with the anthemic energy of a classic-rock hit by being totally unconcerned with radio compatibility. In The Dark could very well end up successful. It’s just a shame The Whigs had to try so hard for that success.

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