We gave it a B
From New Jersey, screamo’s geographical heart of darkness (look no further than genre touchstones Lifetime, Thursday, and My Chemical Romance), comes Sound the Alarm, the fifth cri de Converse from Princeton natives Saves the Day. And it’s as turgidly epic as the tenets of the genre demand. Singer Chris Conley makes no bones about his bad mood; on opener ”Head for the Hills,” he serves up a grisly buffet of adenoidal reproaches: ”Cut off my legs when you tell me to walk/ Slit my own throat when you say to talk.” That bloody valentine may well be aimed at DreamWorks; it was the shuttering of the label that left the band in a no-man’s-land some two years ago. Now, with Sound the Alarm, they’re back on punk stalwart Vagrant, having put the black-hole bad luck of 2003’s In Reverie behind them. StD have rediscovered their riff-heavy melodics to go along with Alarm‘s impressively righteous indignation; it’s a special group of young men who can make a track like ”Dying Day” (”I’m standing in the grave as I wait to bleed”) sound like a bouncy little ditty straight from Green Day’s lighter days. You’d have to be a 15-year-old who’s been grounded or recently dumped to keep a straight face through the morbid lyrics, but the cathartic noise is universal.