Ryan Cabrera

Young hunk Ryan Cabrera's third effort, The Moon Under Water, released last year, was supposedly his entry into serious music. Check out Cabrera's brunette locks and soul patch as well as his Bono-inspired attire on the album's back jacket — this guy is a thoughtful rocker, damn it. He's been listening to Springsteen (actually Mellencamp) and reading Bukowski (actually Stephen King). Cabrera graduated from Jesuit College Prep School. He has no choice but to be sensitive and deep. But wait! The opening track, "In Between Lights," isn't half bad. Sounding like late-period Goo Goo Dolls (not an especially major feat), Cabrera's got a pleasantly urgent voice that conveys his rather pedestrian lyrics in a heartfelt manner that's not easily dismissed. Add in some punchy, Cheap Trick-inspired guitar (care of Michael Chislett) and things begin to take on the semblance of respectability. It's not until the fourth cut, the portentously titled "Rise (The Dog Barks)," that Cabrera starts turning into the seventh-grade poet who can't help but strive for a self-importance well beyond his grasp. Give the young man credit, however. The Moon Under Water is far from the disaster it could have been. Cabrera might have something more to him than what has been manicured and displayed.