This is good, even very good, modern pop punk—like eight out of ten stars. I can’t say exactly how Learn the Hard Way stacks up against the older Copyrights albums since this is the first one of their albums I’ve gotten to hear more than a couple tracks from, but this feels like a band that’s mastered their craft. The main problem is that, at times, this album feels just a little too workman-like. Everything’s pretty good, but only a few of songs rise above the fray to approach greatness and be especially memorable (those songs being “Switchblades,” “Out of Ideas,” and “On the Way Out”). This is worth picking up, but seeing as my benchmark for contemporary pop punk is The Methadones Not Economically Viable and The Ergs! Upstairs/Downstairs, there is a lot to live up to since every song on those albums is nearly perfect and full of those moments which make me glad to be alive, even if I’m feeling miserable. Learn the Hard Way is good, but it needs a few more of those all transcending moments to be great.
–Adrian (Red Scare)