Power chords, catchy riffs and introspective lyrics make the six tracks on Mourning Maxwell's latest effort ready for modern-rock radio. Maybe that's why the Tempe rock band's tag line on MySpace.com reads, "Music even your Grandma likes." While your grandma might not be familiar with these guys, she'll surely approve of their sweet, upbeat sound. What separates Mourning Maxwell from the emo-pop-punk movement is that Derek Smith's vocals don't have a distinctive whine -- actually, his voice is reminiscent of Daryl Palumbo (in Head Automatica, not Glassjaw). Smith's vocals particularly stand out on "Prime Investment," the EP's standout track. Meanwhile, "Push Push" shows that the quartet is versatile; it's a pop-punk song made for those who love stoner rock, complete with a bass-driven groove. However, the band tried a little too hard on the beginning of "A Poet on Payday," with distant, hollow vocals that would make you think someone screwed up if the record hadn't been produced by Bob Hoag (The Bled, The Format). Aside from that, though, Mourning Maxwell's latest disc proves the band is ready to take over more than just Phoenix. Just wait -- this three-time Warped Tour vet will surely get squished into the radio rotation between Alkaline Trio and RX Bandits.
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