Home School Valedictorian, the Las Vegas-based modern rock outfit Adelitas Way's sophomore effort, polishes the already slick foundation on which the band built their 2009 debut. Bolstered by a radio-ready, appropriately bitter first single, “Sick,” a movie trailer-ready, Killers-esque anthem in “Alive,” and a rote, vulnerable, midtempo ballad called “I Can Tell,” High School Valedictorian sounds precise, pained, and impeccable, which is really what modern rock is about, but one can’t help feeling manipulated by the template-like accuracy of it all. Like any good pop record, the verse/chorus formula is applied liberally, and when the band sinks its teeth in, as they do on opener “The Collapse” it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the angst of it all. The hooks are catchy, the playing is tight, and the vision is grand, but the glassy familiarity of each move comes off like two computers playing chess with each other.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger