After an EP on Jim Adkins
' Western Tread label in early 2003, Arizona's the Format
jumped to Elektra for Interventions and Lullabies
, an album of accessible and often charming modern rock. The appropriately titled, airwave-ready "The First Single (You Know Me)" gets things off on the right foot, with a sugary, anthemic chorus propelled by chiming acoustic and electric guitars. While there are several enchanting, mellow moments, including the breathtaking, string-touched "On Your Porch," and "Give It Up," the pair's commercial aspirations on a ballad like "Tune Out" have singer Nate Ruess
and multi-instrumentalist Sam Means
coming closer to Goo Goo Dolls
-like anonymity than any credible outfit should be comfortable with. That said, the majority of the time the Format
sound pretty darn original, hopping from the waltzing, banjo-touched "A Mess to Be Made" to the punchy energy of "Sore Thumb" with great ease.