Daughtry is like a pop-rock homing pigeon.

Wherever Chris Daughtry and friends start out in the songs from "Break the Spell" (19/RCA) either musically or lyrically, they eventually end up in their same dramatic sweet spot, with raised voices and power chords. Every time.

It's not a bad formula, and it has its moments, like the wrenching sing-along single "Crawling Back to You" and "Louder Than Ever," the super-shiny throwback to '80s Bon Jovi and Loverboy. But it all blends together after a while, whether they approach it from the revved-up Aerosmith-influenced opening of "Renegade" or the weird "Spaceship," which seems to share a similar melody to the theme from "Growing Pains."

On Daughtry's previous albums, there were standout songs where they tried something different, with mixed results. For "Break the Spell," the sense of adventure is gone, leaving us with adequate, sorta-likable facsimiles of "Home" or "Feels Like Tonight" that are redundant from the start.



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"Break the Spell"


BOTTOM LINE Cautious, predictable radio-friendly rock