The Absence in Me
The self-deprecating name may be a reference to the group being ordinary Southern boys distancing themselves from the rock gods (and wanna-be arena idols) from either coast. However, judging from the strength of this material, one doubts that it will be too long before secondhandheroes are treated like supermen themselves.
This is strictly meat-and-potatoes rock, the modern-day version of AOR; in other words, secondhandheroes owe a substantial debt to their predecessors in Fuel, Creed and Lifehouse. Jonathan Quigley’s vocals are gravelly yet have a likeable, clean-cut quality a la Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down. Most of his songs are about women, those who can’t comprehend him (“She Don’t Know Me,” “Next Time”); those who he is missing (“Back to You,” “Come Back to Me”) and those who he wants to permanently flee (“Cutting Away,” “Lately”). If that sounds too simplistic, it should be. The best AOR appeals to the everyday Joe, which is why more people bought Hinder’s record than the last Pearl Jam CD.
As far as this genre goes, I applaud secondhandheroes for delivering a pretty consistent album. Each tune is equipped with radio-friendly hooks, especially the crisp guitar work of Chuck Green and the robust drumming of Jonathan Hoffmann. The album really rocks without making anybody deaf, and you have to admire secondhandheroes for being themselves even though they do recall a handful of bands out there. However, what secondhandheroes truly have going for them is this collection of well-crafted commercial rock.