Back when rock was a real arena monster, fans used to hold up lighters at rock shows. At shows by local pop punk/hard rock band A Change of Pace, fans hold up their illuminated cell phones. That gesture's a great metaphor for ACoP's music it's an old sound, punched up for the New Millennium. Anymore, being branded with the "pop punk" label doesn't bode well for bands, but these five fellows from Peoria have grown up quite a bit since the release of their first record, a 2003 EP titled Change Is the Only Constant, recorded when the band members were still teenagers. The songs on Prepare the Masses have a much harder edge than the adolescent emo-punk wailings of the EP, employing everything from thunderous, tricky timing changes to overdubbed-to-death vocal harmonies. Standouts on the CD include the hard rock number "White Lines and Lipstick," with its blistering, cock rock guitar solo; "Safe and Sound in Phone Lines," an acoustic ballad with a beautiful melody that could have been concocted by Modest Mouse; and the catchy and perhaps overly confident "A Song the World Can Sing Out Loud," which proclaims, "We're going places you've never dreamed about."
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