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Alien Ant Farm

Alien Ant Farm found fame the old-fashioned way: It latched onto a novelty tune and rammed it up America's ass. But the SoCal quintet's follow-up single, "Movies," showed that it had a dribble of substance, albeit of the sub-Linkin Park variety. The band toured hard, gave 100 percent at shows, and tried not to take itself too seriously. All was well, and AAF seemed destined for Sugar Ray-ville until a highly publicized bus accident put frontman Dryden Mitchell out of commission for several months. The world moved on, and someone forgot to tell the band. Now AAF is back, kind of like an acquaintance you invite to a party assuming he won't show up. When he does, you take his coat, hand him a drink, and pray he doesn't stay too long.

Produced by the DeLeo brothers (better known as the musical brains behind Stone Temple Pilots) and mixed by Brendan O'Brien of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden fame, TruANT begs to be taken seriously. Someone should tell the band that a good first step would have been to ax the cutesy ant-themed album titles. Finding a distinct sound has always been AAF's greatest challenge, but TruANT's lyrics are almost willfully bad, as if Mitchell were daring his bandmates to see if the audience would care enough to listen. With preschool-level couplets such as "We're drifting apart 'cause we all do/And skies seem blue," the lead singer almost seems to be expressing contempt for AAF's few remaining fans.

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Geoff Harkness

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