Serene - 2004 - 34 minutes

Unlike some more famous artists in Ireland and Britain, it could never be said that seasoned Dublin group Blink lacked commitment to the cause of cracking the US.

Their resolve extended to abandoning their record label in the UK, Parlaphone, in 1996 after they set up their own US label and released their debut album to a favourable response. The label had wanted them to stay and record a follow-up to the album, 'A Map of The Universe', but the band decided to leave Parlaphone and return Stateside to do more touring.

The band then signed with US label Paradigm Records - home to Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins - and completed a second album as well as several rounds of US tour supports with bands like Mercury Rev, The Ramones, Moby and even namesakes Blink-182. Things were going well until Paradigm Records closed, but the band decided to go ahead with plans for their third album anyway.

Which brings us to 'Deep Inside the Sound of Sadness'. Catchy opener 'The Tiny Magic Indian' combines fast rock riffs with melodic vocals, much like fellow Irishmen Ash, who also have years of US touring worn into their sound. The zany 'Angel of Light (Catwoman)' sticks out rather like the catsuit guest vocalist Jamie Lescarbeaux apparently wore to the recording studio must have, with its wailing vocals and stop-start rhythms.

'To Go', by contrast, is a lighter, poppier offering that is probably the best song on the record. 'We All Know What Happens Next' finds Blink introducing strings and cymbal crashes to evoke more of the emotions promised by the album's title. The curiously-titled 'Snow White Has Let You Down Again' puts the band back in punky form, and attempts to marry raging vocals with a bizarre chorus line that lists out the names of each dwarf individually.

On 'Don't Panic', Blink are back in plaintive mode, as ascending guitar chords are joined with downbeat lyrics. 'Just Came Out' sees a return to the more upbeat material that started the album, while the closing two tracks - 'Temperature Rising' and 'Walking Away' - are rockier, showing the influence of producer Howie Beno, who has also worked on material with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson.

So while perhaps a track record of three albums in 13 years doesn't do justice to a band once touted as the next U2, this album shows that Blink still know how to rock and aren't ready to give up on the prospect of superstardom just yet.

Bill Lehane

Tracklisting: The Tiny Magic Indian- Angel of Light (Catwoman) -To Go - We All Know What Happens Next - Snow White Has Let You Down Again - Don't You Rollerblade In Nashville Tennessee?- Don't Panic - Just Came Out - Temperature Rising - Walking Away