As leader of the mid-'90s band the Refreshments, Roger Clyne toed the line between MTV-ready alternative rock and jokey slacker anthems. (The band's big single, "Banditos," would fit right in on a mixtape between Nada Surf's "Popular" and the Toadies' "Possum Kingdom.") But these days, he's fronting Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, whose latest album, No More Beautiful World, keeps the smirking world view and aims for a kind of catch-all vision of rock & roll. The album finds Clyne struggling (and succeeding) to keep a positive outlook on a world that's crumbling around him, from the optimistic, roots-rocking opener "Hello New Day" to the ska-inflected "Lemons," which deals with the fickle wheel of fate. Clyne's sunny disposition relies a bit too heavily on cliché, but his strong, expressive voice is able to make the songs convincing.
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