DARK BLUE: Victory Is Rated: LP

Goth pop outfit Dark Blue reveal all the tricks up their sleeves too early on their third LP, Victory Is Rated. They never let loose. For nine songs, they overly rely on verse-chorus-verse-chorus song structure, which makes the album frustratingly mundane. The swirling guitars leave only a faint impression, and frontman John Sharkey III, although a moody crooner like Sisters Of Mercy’s Andrew Eldritch, is too controlled, almost passive. The songs are catchy, even anthemic, but they impact. With a little more grit and variety, Dark Blue would have had me putting on my eyeliner. –Sean Arenas (12XU, 12xu.bigcartel.com)