Samiam Whatever's Got You Down

One of the first bands to perfect the pop punk sound in the early ’90s offer up their first album of new material in six years and shows that after 15 years they still do it better than most. WGYD follows and surpasses 2000’s Astray on all levels. The songs are crisper and the emotions rawer on this 12-track gem. They are largely of the emo punk variety, but there are a few variations from the formula to be found in the form of the Guided By Voices-inspired "Lullababy.” The fusion of late ’80s punk energy and early ’90s alt-pop sensibilities puts Samiam’s sound somewhere between Jawbreaker, early Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day… only a little more sincere and rougher around the edges. Yet despite a sound that could be sold in just about any mall record outlet, these guys have never made it big (their one major label attempt fell flat as another casualty of the post-Nirvana frenzy). Actually it’s probably just as well because something about the organic sound of this record would have been lost with too much polish. (Hopeless)