Boston’s lone hipster credential remains Kurt Cobain’s claim that he pilfered the signature riff from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” off the opening salvo of “More Than a Feeling.” In a cruel twist of fate, Nirvana is long gone, but Boston trudges on. Founding guitarist and studio geek Tom Scholz remains the band’s mastermind, and the return of helium-throated wailer Brad Delp revives its ultrasheen sound. “I Had a Good Time,” is classic cocaine-era Boston, bursting with Scholz’s patented multitracked lead lines, excessively airbrushed hooks, and enough backing vocals to give the Mormon Tabernacle Choir a run for its tithings. From there, the album becomes ensnared in a tar pit of dinosnore Pro-Tools ballads.

Corporate America is a rather ironic title from an act that’s based a whole career on shilling corporate rock to any and all takers. The band attempts to make amends via earthy artwork and a CD booklet crammed with enough do-gooder organizations (PETA, Vegsource, the Sierra Club) to stock the info tables at the next ten Lilith Fairs. Since issuing its “rushed” sophomore effort in 1978, Boston has taken exactly eight years between releases, a strategy that once resulted in a lawsuit from its former record label. With any luck, Scholz and company will skip the 2010 outing altogether.

Categories: Music