Eager rookies burn up plenty of calories running in circles
Soaring anthems, cathedral-bell guitars, a hyper-dramatic singer:
You just can’t evoke a sense of ecstatic fervor in rock ’n’ roll these days without encroaching on the turf of U2, who still plays the game better than anyone else, thank you. flirting with self-parody, Brooklyn quartet Pela tries to distinguish itself through sheer force of will, slamming home one epic melody after another while frontman Billy McCarthy spews earnest tales of self-discovery and flailing romance as if he were poised on a window ledge, seconds from leaping to his death. Such broad gestures are thrilling singly, but numbing in large, relentless doses. Still songs like “Lost to the Lonesome” and “Trouble with River Cities” are pretty darn catchy, despite the stale arrangements, and fiery drummer Tomislav Zovich would probably swing like crazy if he abandoned his military-strike approach to the kit. Forgotten somewhere in the past is a more flexible Pela, one that wasn’t so obsessed with making a big impression.