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Listening to Love Canal's latest CD, Home, you can almost see the veins bulging from vocalist Chad Phoebus' neck as he spits out his metalhead growls. But don't get the wrong idea: The band isn't your typical post-grunge, altrock outfit -- at least according to its frontman.

"Really we're a pop band at the heart," Phoebus says. "We're not necessarily punk or alternative. Down at the core, we're just a good pop and rock 'n' roll band."

Shying away from what he calls the "pound, pound, smash" mentality on the band's debut CD, Embers, Phoebus says that Home is more in touch with the band's true character. As such, it should stifle the label-happy media for a while.

"On Embers, everything was heavy. It was an aggressive period for us," Phoebus admits. "So we just let things take course on the second album. We let our pop side come out on Home. I guess you can say we've come full circle to our roots."

The rest of the band -- guitarist Stephen Carroll, drummer Jody Martin, and bassist Mick McConnell -- back up Phoebus' words with enough rock fervor to resurrect the dead. But at the same time, they keep the songs radio- and fan-friendly.

Since the release of Home and its standout single, "Might," last year, the band has been inundated with fan responses of all kinds, according to Phoebus. "I get letters and e-mails all the time from people saying how our songs affected them. It's a good feeling and makes you want to write more," he says. "That's why we play in the first place. It's nice to know we're connecting and getting through."

"Might" also had an effect on Virgin Records scouts, who, after they heard it, signed the band for an opening slot for Queensryche. The single can also be found on ZETA Rocks Volume 1, a local music compilation. Another single from Home that's garnered some buzz is "Boy Genius," probably because of the video featured on the Internet at indieliquid.com/lovecanal.

Love Canal currently has a southeastern U.S. tour planned for June, they're working on a new disc, and they will perform at The Underground in Fort Lauderdale Saturday.

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Brian Hyman

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