Last Days Of April Ascend to the Stars

Well here's a switch, a band out of Sweden that doesn't sound like it's trying to ape old Kinks records. Recording with über-producer Pelle Gunnerfeldt (the Jack Endino/Steve Albini of Sweden), Ascend to the Stars contains elements of classic rock, new wave and emo with no two songs sounding alike. Some are tempered and meandering, some are filled with catchy pop hooks, and there's even a two-minute blast of punk fury, but the common element is a complete lack of fear to mess with traditional songwriting formulas. With Gunnerfeldt's knack for capturing the most interesting sounds in the studio, the result is a collection of warped pop music as inventive and imaginative as anything you'll hear this year. (Bad Taste)