Lifehouse, "Smoke & Mirrors"

65 Billboard Rating

Despite the title of their fifth studio album, "Smoke & Mirrors," the members of rock act Lifehouse don't engage in any unexpected trickery. Like its predecessors, the new album is another solid set of no-frills, meat-and-potatoes rock, with plenty of catchy melodies, surging guitars and midtempo grooves perfect for pumping one fist while gripping a warm can of beer in the other. Chris Daughtry contributes guest vocals to the particularly tuneful song "Had Enough" (which the "American Idol" star co-wrote with Lifehouse frontman Jason Wade and Richard Marx), while lead single "Halfway Gone" benefits from a songwriting assist by Kevin Rudolf. Meanwhile, "Falling In" and "From Where You Are" sound like folky follow-ups to "You and Me," Lifehouse's 2005 wedding-band staple. But in truth, nothing on "Smoke & Mirrors" is significantly more notable than anything else. Wade and his bandmates have figured out what works, and their formula delivers with remarkable consistency.-Mikael Wood

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