In 1998, Fastball hit it big with the single “The Way,” off the album All the Pain Money Can Buy, and since released three more albums. This week, the band’s fourth album, Little White Lies was released in stores and is overall quite different from their hit single.

The album begins with some catchy guitar in “All I Was Looking For Was You” that draws the listener in and continues on through an alternative, borderline indie sound with interesting harmonies and combinations of guitars and keyboard. Most of the songs also give us the familiar voice we heard in well-known songs like “The Way” and “Out of My Head” that is nice to hear, and it is often paired into harmonies that, like the album, have their ups and downs.

Songs like “The Malcontent (Modern World)” are similar to “The Way,” while “Angelie” is far different and frankly not up to par. There are also many interesting harmonies at play here, and most are pleasant (“Always and Never” is a good example). However, the problem the album runs into is it hasn’t found the sound it wants to settle on — it sounds all over the place.

There is a lot of variety here, and while some is nice to have, it needs to be taken in moderation. If someone were to listen to the songs separately, they would almost certainly not be able to place them all on the same album by the way they sound. This variety makes it difficult to classify Little White Lies into one genre, and the closest a person could get would most likely be just generic alternative rock, and let’s face it, that is not nearly specific enough. Some of the album sticks with the alternative style that could be seen in the Fastball’s earlier music, but some is reaching out for something different, as can be seen in “We’ll Always Have Paris (Everyday All of the Time)” and “Angelie.” Parts of the album are representative of the band’s alternative sound, but the problem is it isn’t constant nor coherent.

In the end, the album has the different kind of sound that is something we haven’t heard before, and the songs are something you can tap your feet to. However, none of them really stand out as being exceptional. Listeners who were fans back in the ’90s may have mixed feelings because the overall sound really strays away from songs like “The Way.” However, that is not necessarily a bad thing and the album is easy to listen to.

Bottom line: If someone listened to Little White Lies, they most likely would not enjoy the whole album since some of the songs are very different compared to others. People who want to listen to the album in depth may just be better off listening to clips of the songs on iTunes and buying the few that really stick out to them instead of spending the 10 bucks on the entire CD.

3 stars out of 5.