So They Say So They Say

When it comes to overwrought 20-something white boy angst, the American Midwest is, indeed, the best. Strange that a region vaunted for its wide open spaces is the nation’s leading supplier of pale, emotionally fragile bed-wetters. Throwing their collective hat into an already crowded emo-punk ring, St. Louis quintet So They Say are one of the few bands who believe there are ways to express one’s inner turmoil that don’t involve drama-king histrionics and a wave upon wave of juiced-up power chords. Their debut EP is remarkably restrained for their chosen style. Here, singer Dave Schroeder keeps the plaintive wailing to a minimum, opting instead for a rough tough-guy croon, while guitarists Mike Guffey and Nick Walters rein in the cock-rock posturing for crunchy, athletic melodies. Of the six songs here, "Save Yourself” is the most obviously radio-ready, but the muscular wallop of "Slipping Away,” with its keening vocals and hard-charging guitars, wouldn’t sound out of place on the next Vagrant comp. Proof positive that it’s possible to open your heart and vent your spleen without losing your mind in the process. (Fearless)