Starting Line Based on a True Story

Early on in the Starting Line’s first major-label release, vocalist Kenny Vasoli definitely sings the words, "I’m gonna tear your ass up like we just got married.” There are bands that can get away with singing words like that, but when you’re in a cookie-cutter pop punk band whose lyrics generally concern how much you love to talk to your girlfriend on the phone, tearing someone’s ass up can come as quite a surprise. Sadly, the music on this record tends to follow suite, missing the gently inquisitive nature of their past work and instead gunning for faux-maturity that sounds more like teenagers who’ve discovered riffs and a few screams that can get them laid faster than any number of sweetly melodic songs about how distance makes relationships hard. While Based on a True story will probably help the band tear up a few more asses, they’ll need to do some more growing up before their music justifies such awkwardly boastful statements. (Geffen)