Pushing Through the Seasons

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This Orlando group's effort is teeming with a whiny teen-angst rock flavor as the band wallows in songs such as "The Shore," which would instantly bring to mind Simple Plan, with lead singer Aaron Harvey's timbre like that of Pierre Bouvier. When Mashlin attempt a softer, winding track with a gritty underbelly, "Arrive Like a Thief," the band fares better -- but not much better. The emo characteristic is readily audible on efforts like "Bending Light in New Directions," which builds on Glen Wilson's bassline but opts for a softer melody à la the Cure. Fans of early Sloan circa "Coax Me" would definitely get a kick from the sweet and powerful "Autumn." Mashlin veer too far into the melancholia during "66 Books of Cleansing," which comes off a bit like Savage Garden or a sappy, piano-fueled lullaby. It seems that "Violet" is a logical evolution of this format, with guitars driving the chorus, giving it an ebb and flow not often found here. The band nails the hard, crunchy rock of "Cold Kiss of a Liar," with its off-kilter tempo thanks to drummer Jason Burrows. It's kind of like a cross between Nickelback and Billy Talent. "The Gray" is rather gray and ordinary, not really doing much for either the album or the listener. The album concludes on an anthemic, slow-building high note, however, thanks to "Letter to a Mentor." The melancholy thread found here is reminiscent of Matthew Good's finest work.

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