Indianapolis emo punks About the Fire debut with Rites of Passage, a solid set that largely stands on its own merits but is nonetheless hugely derivative of some earlier, better artists. The vocal similarities between the excellently monikered Fat Sammy Clevenger and Naked Raygun's Jeff Pezzati are unmistakable, for one thing, and a generation's worth of American post-hardcore indie bands, from Fugazi to Sunny Day Real Estate and beyond, are filtered through the choppy guitar riffs that power these 11 songs. It's to the credit of the band, all the members of which have at least a couple of minor outfits to their histories, that an actual sense of personality shines through songs like the anguished yet poppy opener, "Shadow Box," despite the way that the average listener can spend most of the record playing Spot the Influence.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason