New Noize/Dreamworks - 2001 - 55 minutes

Californian bands Korn and the Deftones have much to answer for. With their '94 and '95 debuts they created nu-metal, giving rise to countless outfits who, without their trailblazing antics, would either be behind the counter in a convenience store, scrawling band logos into college desks or living in their parents' basements.

Now along come Alien Ant Farm, the Papa Roach-endorsed rookies who may have all the same records as the other bands but whose major label debut suggests there's a lot more imagination waiting to get out. Admittedly it kicks off in genre defining style with the karaoke angst of 'Courage' - yet another blend of riffs and observations about some girl who doesn't, like, get it. But three minutes later with 'Movies' Alien Ant Farm redeem themselves no end with a chorus which is easily the best thing nu-metal has offered up to the charts/perplexed parents.

And for every reversion to the "guitars up front, bury the bass drum and let the singer work out his issues" formula there are pockets of inspiration like the Latin feel of 'Attitude' the final frontier bombast of 'Universe' and their insanely catchy but wholly throwaway cover of Michael Jackson's 'Smooth Criminal'.

Alien Ant Farm may move to the same groove as a generation of others and offer up little that the kids haven't heard before, but there are moments here which say they deserve a bigger slice of the teenage cake.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Courage - Movies - Flesh and Bone - Whisper - Summer – Sticks and Stones - Attitude - Stranded - Wish - Calico - Death Day – Smooth Criminal – Universe