Sing It Loud

Come Around

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Once you get over the shock of this non-punk band's presence on Epitaph Records (if you can), you might find yourself wondering if Sing It Loud could be any giddier, frothier, or more spectacularly pop. The answer is no, none more pop. On their debut album, Come Around, the schoolboy-young quintet from Minneapolis does everything it can to embody the rainbow that bursts through the band's name on the CD's cover. Huge singalong hooks in the choruses? Check. Bubbling synths that give the songs an icy veneer? Got 'em. Innocently heartfelt lead vocals and sweet-as-sugar backing harmonies? Yep. Heartfelt lead vocals fed through autotune throughout? You bet. The songs themselves feel like they were run through a similarly synthetic program designed using Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American as the template to create a sound that's exactly what emo pop should sound like in the year 2008. Check "No One Can Touch Us" or "MPLS" if you have doubts. Those doubts will be erased instantly. Call the endlessly perky and sugary result arena-mo, perfect for kids who want the rush of punk without the dirty stuff like squalor and emotion. These may sound like criticisms, but they aren't. Sing It Loud may look and feel like cynical cash grab, but the band remains innocent of the charges by investing the songs with buckets of energy and enthusiasm at every turn. They sound like kids having a blast as they charge through the album, stopping only rarely for breath and never stepping outside of their mold and doing anything embarrassing. Sure, it's not even close to being authentic or real, and it's wide open to all kinds of sniping by "real" punks, but for pop music in 2008, Come Around is just fine.

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