by John Tarpley
Of all the MOR radio rockers currently humming through the airwaves, not many are as musically ambitious as this Austin orchestral-pop act. Alpha Rev may be yet another band whose bare, emotional core was strip-mined from Jeff Buckley's tragic legacy and the minor-key warbling owes a debt to any number of inoffensive "Dawson's Creek" bands, but it sets itself apart, if not in scope, in size. It's a seven-piece band with six vocalists and cello and violin that doesn't sound terribly gimmicky and a high, ethereal tenor in front of the mix (lead vocalist and primary songwriter Casey McPherson) that bites, tastefully, from a "Bends"-era Thom Yorke. Formed in 2005 after the breakup of McPherson's previous, modern rock band, Endochine, Alpha Rev soon found a footing in its fiercely competitive home town, was named the best indie band from Texas by Myspace, signed to the Disney-owned Hollywood Records and became a regular fixture on VH1 with their biggest single, "New Morning." Along the way, the band also provided the soundtrack to MTV's "True Life: I Hate My Plastic Surgery" and contributed music to "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew" and "The OCD Project." It may be a ham-handed soundtrack for your next pity party, but hey, at least the band's aiming for grandeur.