Endo

Songs for the Restless

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For its sophomore Columbia effort, Endo has junked wholesale the rote rap screams and thickheaded riffs that made its 2000 debut so utterly forgettable. In its place, Songs for the Restless finds the Florida combo dwelling on the dynamics and emotion of Deftones or Staind -- groups that temper hard music with touchy-feely heartbreak, but who also take care to write actual songs. This reemergence might be an acknowledgment of rap-metal's unceremonious burial, a savvy marketing effort in recognition of loud rock's most promising new direction. Maybe, but nothing on Evolve suggested that Gil Bitton could even sing, let alone emote as he does on "Clean Sheets (And a Dirty Mind)" or the solid single "Simple Lies." Existing bassist Zelick and new Endoers Eli Parker (guitar) and Joe Eshkenazi (drums) lock into a groove light years beyond the histrionic silliness of the debut -- even if "For You" apes the keening verses and stop/start explosions of Deftones, it's a genuine imitation. Endo still has a way to go in the lyrics department -- revelations like "Madness/What if it's genius?" abound. There are also a few holdovers from the band's original incarnation ("Ruckus," parts of the unfortunately-named "Remember Us") that suggest Songs for the Restless might have benefited from some trimming. But overall, Endo has come through its rap-metal molting process largely unscathed. Even if its new identity has its own influences, Endo might be talented enough to pull off the switcheroo.

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