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Hold, Hold, Fire is a debut album, but these guys are pretty well set up right now. They’ve worked the national live circuit, hard, and have already had a bunch of singles on high rotation on JJJ. Those singles (Not Like Anybody, Hold, Hold, Fire and Disconnect) are all collected here, along with others in a similar vein. They’re all catchy rock songs that, generically speaking, fall somewhere between pop punk and hardcore; the power chord is their modus operandi, the four-on-the-floor their default groove. They also rock some nice harmonies, and Haydn Ing’s voice is versatile enough to handle both screaming and singing duties (an exception to the usual hardcore division of labour). They’re a fine band, and they have produced a totally OK rock album. But it exemplifies something that’s bugged me about contemporary Australian rock for a while now, especially the kind that carries the JJJ stamp of approval: it’s just not very creative. It’s as if, because you’re heavy or whatever, you don’t have to be interesting. An album like this pales in comparison to last year’s JJJ hardcore pick, Alesisonfire’s Old Crows/Young Cardinals, which throws a few curve-balls and is better for it. Admittedly, Calling All Cars are a poppier band. Maybe that’s why I don’t like them as much.

**1/2