After guitarist Clint Werner turned his basement into a 16-track studio, the band members self-produced their fourth album with a clear debt to the surge of grunge. Their punk roots are given a good Bleach-ing as the band turns up the Nirvana-isms, with roaring guitars and greater use of dynamics along with more measured tempos. Still punchier than most of their Sabbath-bred Northwestern contemporaries, cuts such as "Card Tricks" and "Wait for the Fade" alternate slow, heavy riff-driven passages with loud and fast rule breaks. The overdriven, thicker sound sometimes obscures the band's inherent charm, with songs like "Chalk the Cracks" and "Turnout" seeming a little stiff in comparison to the insistent rush of "One Inch Punch" or the churning, moody anthems "Losing Skin" and "Kid Candy." This could also be partly due to the production, which had seemed crisp with Jack Endino on previous albums, but here seems a little saturated. Another problem is singer Aaron Stauffer's decision to offer a hoarse shout rather than sing on a number of the songs. Still, there's a lot to recommend this album, not the least of which is the band's ample energy -- as evidenced in the open-throttle attack of "In Fairness" -- and swooning, melancholy guitar melodics.
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AllMusic Review by Chris Parker