This furious five-piece came kicking out of Denton, Texas, five years ago as a rock-'em-sock-'em reaction to their burg's then-burgeoning prog-emo scene (see At the Drive-In). Despite some Fugazi guitar chops similar to their Denton peers, the Gamblers' preference was to rock out like the MC5. Endless touring and label-hopping over three records ensued, followed by inclusion on last summer's Warped Tour. Anyone worried that the Gamblers may have slid into the punk-pop abyss can relax -- at least as much as their rumpus allows. To the Confusion rolls skate-pop sometimes, via bigger production and ongoing histrionics, but those things fit their guitar-army style anyway, and the disc never sinks to awkward, radio-ready, OC balladry. If anything, this is the band's most full-on rock record yet. Any remaining angularisms have been replaced with soaring choruses, trickier but still lurid language, and more speaker-shredding volume than ever. "True Crime," "Biz Loves Sluts," and "On Again Off Again" join the explosive canon of the Gamblers' drag-strip ditties. There's barely a breath until halfway through, when tunes like "Walk Around Me" and "The Curse of the Ivory Coast" loosen into that late-'80s moment when latter-day Ramones meshed with early Soul Asylum.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.