Standard August

Sometimes trippy, sometimes prog, sometimes emo, sometimes folk and power-pop, sometimes even a little bit country, nothing about the Pacific Northwest's better band to come out in a while (and that's saying something) is mundane or superficial. The quintet's second full-length is like a car trip through Death Valley on ecstasy. Noisy, tender, dark, sincere, loving, hateful, but mostly refreshing in its bravely diverse approach and ability to assemble what would be a hodgepodge in other less capable bands' hands. A moving document of what it's like to be 20-something in an age when everything is supposed to be yours, but for whatever reason isn't. With August, the Standard drives past the exit they took on their power-poppy debut and embarks forth on the road of adventure with little notion of a destination but a lot of fuel to burn, with full jerry cans in the trunk and a few more E for later on, when the "play" button on the deck is invariably repressed. Was that Rush I heard sneak into the studio to call the shots on "Bells to the Boxer" and "Behind the Screens?" Throw the devil sign, kids, for I have seen the new face of rock and it is the Standard. (Touch and Go)