Juliana Theory Love

For their major label debut, the one-time poster boys for emo-rock have taken a decidedly straight-ahead rock turn without actually losing or compromising what made them what they were in the first place. After all, through their first three releases, their sound was always a little more puffed up than that of their peers. For a band that has always been viewed as a post-punk, indie rock outfit, I've always thought they owed as much to Rush, Foreigner and Journey as the Ramones, Fugazi and Jawbreaker. So with major label resources at their disposal, they hold nothing back. Hiring producer Jerry Harrison (the former Talking Head who helmed records for Live) was the first step in giving their epic rock songs the rich bombast and studio fullness they've screamed for. The guitars are huge, the drums crushing and the vocals multi-tracked and harmonised to perfection (at times almost a little too perfect) with flourishes of synthesised strings and piano swells. While all of this might sound like a denouncement, in the realm of TJT Love simply sounds like the logical continuation of a direction they've been heading in since the Emotion is Dead record. There will surely be screams of sell-out and compromised integrity but those will be from people who never really got what the band was trying to do in the first place and that is make great emotional, powerful and thoughtful rock music...simple as that. (Epic)