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On its fifth album, Simi Valley's Pulley delivers its most impressive batch of tunes to date. Matters is one forceful melodic anthem after another, be it "Huber Breeze," which fuses the trademarks of SoCal skatepunk with Beach Boys-derived harmonies, or the charged, angsty "A Bad Reputation." Producer Matt Hyde may be credited for injecting new life into a band that was sounding trite as of 2001's Together Again for the First Time, but frontman Scott Radinsky and guitarist Mike Harder are the main creative culprits, building infectious, innovative material like "YSC," which puts a bluesy spin on nostalgic punk, and the memorable, appreciative ballad "Thanks." Still, "Insects Destroy," former major-label pitcher Radinsky's parting shot at the greedy sports world he left behind, has to be the fiery best of what is easily Pulley's most respectable release yet.

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