Because bland people who have bland conversations at bland dinner parties need more bland background music to play once the Train CD ends, South Carolina's Edwin McCain puts out a new album every two years or so. Really, though, what would you expect from a guy initially championed by Hootie and the Blowfish and propelled to Top 40 fame in 1997 thanks to his sappy ballad ("I'll Be") being spotlighted on Dawson's Creek?
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Scream and Whisper neither screams nor whispers -- it's 14 tracks of cloying lyrical pap set to generic roots-pop arrangements obviously guided by a producer who knows where the "Remove Soul Here" button is on the studio console. McCain croons cringeworthy romantic clichés by the bucketload ("I'll put all the stars back in your sky," "I couldn't love you more if I tried," etc.). And yet he manages to out-insipid those with clunky attempts at capital-I important tunes about illegal aliens ("White Crosses") and Jim Crow-era black musicians ("Good Enough"). Recommended only if you find Matchbox Twenty and Shawn Mullins too challenging.