STATE DRUGS: Takings and Leavings: CD

There’s a really good late-‘90s/early 2000s nostalgia going on here, mostly due to the vocals. This debut full-length from the Denver-based State Drugs could have easily fallen into the hole left by the Gin Blossoms (does it need to be filled?) but the punk undertones—including grittier guitars and faster drumming—reminds me more of later less-gruff Samiam, The Gaslight Anthem or, a personal favorite that I think is criminally overlooked, Gratitude. As The Replacements cover that ends the CD attests, State Drugs’ bread and butter is the combination of edgy and familiar: the combination of urgent time signatures, tight rhythm turnarounds, good vocal production, and catchy songwriting make this a good one to keep rattling around in the car when you need a pick me up that isn’t sugary sweet. –Theresa W. (Jigsaw)