Strung Out Blackhawks Over Los Angeles

Strung Out Blackhawks Over Los Angeles
Their seventh album in 14 years, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles finds Southern California skate/pop punkers Strung Out at their crucial peak; their musical ability equals their creativity here almost perfectly, resulting in an album that is powerful yet personal. Where most bands hit this stride early in their careers and eventually stagnate, delivering diminishing returns, these guys successfully carry the torch for their beloved (and quickly evaporating) skate punk scene, advancing all the while. On Blackhawks, they draw just enough from both their established SoCal pond and the darker gothic crowd, probably more from the latter than ever before. Still, Blackhawks retains the technical metallic elements Strung Out have tapped since the start, bolstered by increasingly infectious choruses and lilting, melancholy melodies. It produces a distinct early AFI/Alkaline Trio atmosphere that is enticing to emotional sensibilities without detracting from the music’s hyperactive groove and expediency. Songs touch upon introspective moments and political points, both of which are draped in an interestingly dark shroud. One of the genre’s few survivors, Strung Out have fought an uphill battle but by pacing their evolution, they continually manage to raise the bar. Now, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles sees them poised to lead underground pop punk into its next stage of life: the wise, cryptic years. (Fat Wreck)