Budapest gives the listener a refreshing opportunity with their debut album Too Blind To Hear. The U.K. five piece makes soft alternative rock that has the potential to put a tear in your eye and comfort your soul. Like the Smiths, Budapest write poppy music with depressing lyrics. And it hurts so good.

Most songs build off of a simple acoustic riff that becomes lost in a rush of drums, bass, electric guitar and keyboard. Lead singer John Garrison croons in a falsetto reminiscent at times of Thom Yorke. You may catch yourself swaying to the slow, steady rhythm of the music and Garrison’s soft, gentle voice. Much of Too Blind To Hear seems a less intensive, less aggressively guitar-driven version of Pablo Honey.

But don’t become lost in comparison. Budapest’s songs are much simpler, and the genius apparent in Radiohead compositions is missing. They wrote 10 songs with solid choruses, non-abrasive vocals and pleasant music, without ever quite hitting their potential. At times they leave the listener wanting a little more, whether it’s a hard crashing-down of guitars or a drummer that attacks his kit instead of just keeping the beat. However, for a first attempt, Too Blind To Hear is quite an achievement.

3 1/2 Stars

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