Streetlight Manifesto's competent, lively ska-punk debut sets jittery, usually very rapid tunes to singer/guitarist Tomas Kalnoky's ultra-fast vocals. (Kalnoky also wrote all of the material and produced the record.) It's much like hearing a hardcore punk singer supported by much cheerier melodies and varied rhythms than most hardcore punk bands could muster. The lyrics, too, aren't too far afield from hardcore, with their breathless narrative thrust and pumped-up vibes of prickly despair, uncertainty, assertion of individual identity against the odds, and fleeting images of violence. In truth, the actual lyrics Kalnoky's singing are, for the above reasons, often no easier to decipher than those heard on many hardcore punk records, though they're much less grating on the ear. And though they're helpfully printed in the sleeve, he's prone to jamming many words into very little time, so that some of them have to be reproduced in such small print that they're difficult to read. The band does prove itself able to concoct a variety of rhythms and arrangements within the ska-punk format, the accelerations and decelerations adding some drama, the horns adding some spy movie-like creepiness at times, and the frequent use of minor keys distinguishing Streetlight Manifesto melodically from some of the group's competition.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger