After becoming breakout stars with their 2006 debut, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus jumped the shark on their second album, which featured (among other things) a gospel choir, a doo wop song, and all the subtlety of a drunken Liza Minnelli performance. The Hell or High Water EP wisely scales things back. Gone are the stacks of impossibly polished harmonies and studio-enhanced guitars, and in their place are seven tracks that focus on zippy, rambunctious emo-pop. These songs aren’t as fastidiously groomed for radio airplay as the previous album, but they’re infinitely more believable. New listeners may not be convinced -- despite their chart success, the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are still mediocre musicians compared to some of their contemporaries -- but it’s nice to know the boys are finding their footing again.
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