Despite a moment in the sun, screamo increasingly appears a failed experiment without the undying appeal of chocolate in your peanut butter. Blending hardcore aggression with emo's pop impulse didn't produce a juggernaut with heart, but a conflicted creature unable to satisfy either impulse. Recent arrivals Polar Bear Club attempt to modify the formula, offering gruff bellows rather than yelping, alternated frequently with strong vocal melodies over hard-edged hooks couched in muscular post-punk angularity. The Rochester quintet demonstrates more facility with a hook than most of their brethren, sounding like Taking Back Sunday with sharper corners. Their debut LP, Sometimes Things Just Disappear, gets closer to lift-off than the Spruce Goose but still fails to reinvent the power ballad. However, the admirable effort might just achieve the stated aim of "Our Ballads" to "separate all the girls from the boys," or at least the boys from those still wearing mascara and girls' jeans.
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