Picks and Pans Main: Music

updated 03/05/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/05/2007 AT 01:00 AM EST



After the successes of Coldplay, Keane and Snow Patrol, the Brit-pop brigade continues its stateside march with new releases by the Feeling and Aqualung that are both jolly good if not terribly jolly. The second U.S. release from Aqualung continues in the mopey mode of 2005's Strange and Beautiful. Matt Hales, the multi-instrumentalist who fronts what is essentially a one-man band, possesses a mile-wide melancholic streak that imbues even the more upbeat moments, such as the '60s soul throwback "Rolls So Deep," with shades of gray. But Hales finds beauty in all that brooding with a melodic grandeur that would make even Chris Martin jealous. Things are a little more cheery on Twelve Stops and Home, the debut from the Feeling. Although the lyrics of a song like "Sewn" aren't particularly sunny ("You've got my heart in a headlock/You stopped the blood and made my head soft"), their peppy pop sounds and lush harmonies straight from the Beatles school make it hard to stay bummed. Twelve Stops and Home:

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; Memory Man:

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DOWNLOAD THIS: The Feeling: "Sewn"; Aqualung: "Rolls So Deep"

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