The Promise Ring's reign as one of emo's flagship bands had nearly ended by the time kiddy pop-punkers like Good Charlotte or New Found Glory started cashing their Hot Topic merch checks. After a brain tumor and surgery gave leader Davey Von Bohlen a brief scare, he led the Promise Ring through 2002's Wood/Water, a quiet, reflective, near-folk album. That proved the band's swan song, and the following year he formed Maritime with Promise Ring drummer Dan Didier (also Von Bohlen's partner in his other side project, Vermont) and Dismemberment Plan bassist Eric Axelson.
Maritime's music feels like a progression from Wood/Water. Bubbling with the classic melodic charms that made the Promise Ring so winning, Maritime's debut, Glass Floor, is a pop album somewhere between Matthew Sweet and the Flaming Lips. Strings and horns color the arrangements, but there's a gentle breeziness in the persistent guitar jangle that avoids appearing too studious. It's a good -- not great -- album, but Maritime's direction is beginning to take shape, as Von Bohlen adds to his already rich legacy in the Promise Ring and Cap'n Jazz.