Criteria

Hipness protection program

Criteria waited until its second full-length to release a record on its hometown label, Saddle Creek, and it's none too soon, as Saddle Creek needed a huge blast of rock music to complement its recent roster of softie releases. Criteria is the brainchild of Stephen Pederson, the original guitarist for Cursive (which, sadly, may be on a permanent hiatus), but bears little resemblance to Omaha's tightest cello-rockers. When We Break, last year's album from Criteria, is a nonstop blast of sing-along-equipped, stripped-down rock songs -- it's not emo, it's not fashion rock (no girl pants), and it's not for hipsters. Pederson, who attended Duke Law School and is taking a break from being an intellectual-property lawyer, recruited studio whiz A.J. Mogis to play bass, Beep Beep drummer Mike Sweeney, and guitarist Aaron Druery to round out Criteria, and the resulting mix of power chords among disjointed rhythms speaks to the brilliance of their chemistry.

 
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