A Change of Pace

Prepare the Masses

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Fresh from the success of their 2005 debut, An Offer You Can't Refuse, A Change of Pace swiftly deliver up their sophomore set, Prepare the Masses. That first album announced a hot new talent on the scene, and this new one shows how quickly they're maturing. Their moniker is more apt than one might initially expect, for the quartet do indeed change the pace on a dime, delivering up an intriguing blend of hard rock-laden hardcore with a decided pop-punk twist. The politically minded "How to Rape a Country" is a case in point, churning hardcore that suddenly breaks into a dreamy, melody laced punk chorus. "I Wanna Be Your Rock & Roll," with its stop-start rhythms, swings even more dramatically between the two subgenres, while "War in Your Bedroom" mixes it up even further by sliding a hint of new wave synths into the brew. But the album isn't comprised completely of stellar hybrid monsters. The title track, for instance, is melodic punk rock at its most exuberant, the jutting rhythm offset by the chiming lead guitar and glorious melody. That song has just a tinge of Green Day around the edges, both "Recipe for Disaster" and "Take Care" dip into indie, although they're delivered in exhilarating pop-punk style. All three songs are stand-outs, but the pièce de résistance is "Weekend Warriors," a paean for the weekdays' end that's tinged with the sparkle of U2, the attitude of Green Day, a stinging arena rock-styled lead guitar solo, and a splash of new wave synth, deftly delivered by Dave Holdredge. And sticking with the stadium, "A Song the World Can Sing Out Loud" puts pure '70s rock back in punk rock, and has a better chance of getting the world singing together than an entire truckload of Coke. Lyrically, too, the group have improved by leaps and bounds, with the set tackling everything from the battle to kick drugs, with "White Lines and Lipstick" through the seduction of the cleverly titled "War in your Bedroom," and onto the jubilant expectations of coming home on the exuberant "I'm Alive." A Change of Pace have already prepared the masses, now they deliver up the goods to them all.

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