This quartet brings a tight mix of power pop and power punk to their album, starting off with the crisp emo sound of "Got It All." Fortunately, all the vocalists in the band can sing, relying on little screaming and wailing to get their message across. The tandem of Rick Sanberg and Chris Cron keeps things simple but quite interesting on this track. Slightly heavier and more radio-friendly is "New Day," which sounds like a cross between Gin Blossoms and Semisonic. Melee hit the sonic ball out of the ballpark with the lovely "The War," which builds and gallops along at a great power pop pace. It never falters either, despite going back into first gear for the homestretch briefly. The drum fill courtesy of Mike Nader brings blink-182's Travis Barker to mind instantly. A lighter piano-driven pop tune called "Perfect Mess" doesn't quite measure up, resembling a throwaway or B-side Hanson-cum-Joe Jackson track. More piano schlock is steering "Lions Cage" down a bleak dead-end, despite some sweet backing harmonies. Fortunately they return to their strengths with the new wave-tinged "Mestizos Love Song," with its keyboard-led bridge. It's melodic but doesn't come off as soppy as the previous two songs. And this momentum continues during "The Curse," which relies on a blueprint similar to Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back." But again it's stifled with an average and melancholic Ben Folds-esque "Sleeping Through Autumn." "Routines" comes off as a very lightweight version of Coldplay with its guitars and piano trying to compensate for a rather pedestrian Billy Joel formula.
AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil