Children Collide

Theory of Everything

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Among the millions of bands giving alt rock and post-punk revival a bad name with shallow, insipid, faceless, and noise-polluted music, Children Collide come across as a rare breath of fresh air at a music dump, ripping through their tunes with an effortless grace that hides considerable songwriting efforts, as well as plenty of energy and big radio-ready hooks that somehow don't require them to sign up for the clone factory. They did their homework, to be sure, with influences ranging from Hüsker Dü and Therapy? on their loudest moments, to Blur and even Kurt Cobain (at his quirkiest) on the quieter ones -- not to mention punk, Fugazi, and Sonic Youth -- but everything is pieced together into a cohesive whole made up of songs that are memorable and straightforward, but that don't lose that independent, jangly, and surly vibe. The band isn't here to kiss up to listeners, it's here to speak to them as equals, and if the audience catches a groove from what it hears, it's a win for everyone. Children Collide still never sounds completely original on Theory of Everything -- this deja vu feeling is likely to be nagging in the back of your mind from track one to track 12 -- but they don't sound like rip-offs, either. The lyrics play a part, too -- the group is less likely to sing about girls than about holes in the universe, and rhymes "fanatics" with "mathematics", but all of this comes across as poetic imagery (only rarely overblown), not naïve dross. Children Collide still lack a trademark sound -- something that would make people anywhere in the great wide world snap their fingers and say 'I know them!' by the third note -- but they are one of the better bands in a while to play such catchy music without losing their authentic rock gloom.

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