Stairwell The Sounds of Change

The title of the sophomore effort from this SoCal indie/emo rock outfit is significant not only for the band (which has changed its sound considerably from its debut) but for the label that is releasing it (Hopeless, a label notorious for political hardcore punk rock). Although recorded nearly three years ago, the disc is finally getting a proper release through Hopeless with justifiably great expectations. The band has adopted a bouncy, melodic Promise Ring/Jimmy Eat World alt-rock approach to their ultra-boppy, catchy songs. Lots of simple four-chord rock songs layered with smooth as silk vocal harmonies and even the odd cowbell clink just to remind us that this great percussion device can bring so much to a record. And with producer James Paul Wisner (Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever) at the helm, you know you're getting maximum punch from the production side. A change, but definitely one for the better. (Hopeless)