STARING BACK: On: CD

Think of a genetically modified hybrid of MxPx and Samiam and you’re getting close. The music is more Samiam (partly Billy, partly Clumsy) – ringing, meaty, thick guitar riffs. The vox are more MxPx but aren’t even close to half as annoying. Keep in mind that the music is also lightly cross-pollinated with MxPx and Forbidden Beat drumming. I can’t help but think that this would absolutely rule if the vocals didn’t sound so pure and youthful (i.e. if a bleach-gargling, chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking punk was belting them out, I’d have no reservations about this disc) but, despite all of the potential here (and there’s a pretty fair bit – think about Thursday’s artistic and intellectually interesting version of commercially successful emo and you’re on the right track), it just needs some more balls. These guys claim to like In Flames and I can hear slight bits of that band here? until the singing starts.

 –scott (Lobster)