Various Artists

Punk Goes Acoustic, Vol. 2

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Acoustic songs are the kind of things an emo kid's wet dreams are made of, which probably explains Fearless Records' decision to pump out a second edition of Punk Goes Acoustic for their Punk Goes Everything series. The kitsch factor dominating the rest of said series is basically gone with all the bands here simply doing unplugged versions of fan's favorite songs, and the record is the predictable result of pop-punkers turning off their amps and adding in the occasional piano and handclap for good measure. Fans of acts like Silverstein and the Audition will be smitten all the way through, though really, some songs work much better than others, stripped down and without the driving chords to cover up oft-nasal vocals. Jack's Mannequin's "Bruised" is unsurprisingly a standout, since Andrew McMahon is heads above his peers anyways, but newcomers All Time Low bring an unexpectedly solid performance by doing, well, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. Mixing up the emo-heavy crowd a bit, Set Your Goals' great "Echoes" stands tall as a punchy little melodic hardcore number that recalls early New Found Glory, while vets Anti-Flag can barely contain their anger at the Bush administration over the strummed notes of "Welcome to 1984." These songs -- along with a rather whimsical version of Say Anything's "Woe" and a laid-back, barebones All-American Rejects number -- are welcome respite from the album's generally consistent nature, not to mention the grating screamo-lite of Alesana and a rather boring cut from Sherwood. Perfectly inoffensive and agreeable "punk" ready for late-night make-out sessions between a boy and girl most likely wearing the same sized jeans.

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