I have to wonder what Kai Brown thinks about the TV show "Rock Star: INXS." Certainly no one will ever "replace" the late INXS vocalist Michael Hutchence, but since the spectacle is being made to find a new lead singer, Brown would have been a natural fit. He has a strong, versatile, emotionally charged singing style that he flavors with just a hint of Down Under twang (he is, like the members of INXS, Australian). And, more importantly, he has a bag full of original tunes that could have carried the classic roo-rockers beyond the oldies tour circuit.

Better Now bursts with radio-ready potential hits, among them the rocking "Better Now," "The Pain" and the down-tempo tear-jerker "See Through Me." Members of Vertical Horizon and the BoDeans have guest spots, but Brown is clearly the "Rock Star" on this impressive debut.

Grade: B+

Better Now is currently available.