In The Red Volume 2

Mike Hale's various projects have served as the blueprint for what has become understood as the Gainesville sound: bands with gruff vocals, post-punk arrangements and lyrics with a sincere, passionate, personal slant. Of course, this sound dates back to the UK's Leatherface but Mike Hale and his bands have helped lead the charge on this side of the pond. At least that's the way things were going with his last band, Gunmoll, and lately In The Red. However, Hale recently moved to California and while only Hale can say what was responsible for the softening of his music, it is fair to say that while the band's first album, Volume 1, sounded like Florida, Volume 2 sounds like the product of his new home. The rough edges have been smoothed out, the vocals are cleaner and the production is clearer. Surprisingly, it's all for the better. Hale's voice sounds great and the songs, while true to the core of Hale's past work, don't sound anything like he or his peers have been able to do. Still at a loss? Think Hot Water Music mixed with Foo Fighters; it's a beautiful thing. (Suburban Home)