Much the Same


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Much the Same has a knack for taking music that, by 2006, should sound tired and tedious, and instead, churns it out with a vitality that energizes ears and incites both impassioned singalongs and spirited steering wheel drumming sessions. Just as on prior efforts, the Chicago quartet is set to continue in the footsteps of mid-'90s skatepunk bands; they still sound strikingly similar to acts like Millencolin -- lead vocalist Gunner McGrath doing nothing to rectify the situation -- and you'd even swear at one point halfway through "Stiches" that Greg Graffin makes a guest appearance. Though by no stretch of the imagination is this a bad thing at all, since whatever the band might lack in innovation, Much the Same makes up for tenfold in the energy and passion they bring to the table. From the opening burst of "The Greatest Betrayal," Survive is full of nothing but potent shots of adrenaline-laced rock for those aching for fast, melodic, no-frills, chant-along punk. The songwriting has taken a significant step forward since 2003's Quitters Never Win, and new drummer Jevin Kaye lends a heavy hand in making Survive's tracks tighter, stronger, and more forceful sounding overall. Earnestness drives the mid-tempo resilience of "For Those Left Behind," while soured friendships are directly targeted on embittered cuts like the vicious bite of "Take What's Yours" and the restrained-to-brazen intensity of "Gut Shot." So sure, the band's name might kind of wrap them and their music up in one fell swoop, but when it's delivered this fervently and without pretense -- not to mention devoid of any eyeliner -- how can one really complain? Much the Same has more than just delivered on album number two -- they've made a record you'd be sorry to miss.

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