The Garlics The Garlics

It's hard not to make mention of the teenaged make-up of Montreal's the Garlics because, for one, the youth and inexperience are audible in their songs (including, for instance, the line: "tell me why you're not into me at all"). It isn't that the tracks aren't strong, because they are. In fact, the second reason for keeping their collective age in mind while listening to their self-titled debut is that they show a remarkably raw skill for crafting and performing insanely accessible pop punk, in the same vein as Paramore or the Forecast: glossy, radio-ready hits. But what the songs lack is a vision or direction exciting enough to make the Garlics remarkable at this stage in their very young lives. They focus a little too heavily on vocalist May Well's fierce, soaring vocals, which, again, are very impressive, as one of the sum parts instead of the rhetorical greater whole. Still, the intricate, brooding subtleties of "Goodbye," the killer post-punk technicality of "Going Down" and the sporadic, effective group chants are shining moments on a sincere disc rife with endless hooks, and potential. (Independent)