by Tim Den
Staring Back sure have grown up… They started out as five ragged little kids playing confused Nardcore songs, but on On, they sound like major league contenders. Multi-faceted songs, way too intelligent and technically fluid to be simply labeled “pop punk,” dominate this album. Gorgeous vocal melodies act as a magnet between prog guitar and bass lines, while thrashing drums carry the textured riffing into overdrive. I haven’t been hooked by a guilty pleasure like this since Park (funnily enough, another Lobster signee. Still wondering where the good emo punk’s at?). On is proof that there’s hope for the genre yet. Okay, maybe not, but it’s still a damn fine trip with pretty scenery.
(PO Box 1473 Santa Barbara, CA 93102)