Straylight Run The Needles The Space

If you’re still following John Nolan after his stint in Taking Back Sunday, you’d likely be surprised to pick up his not-so-new-anymore band’s sophomore release and hear a stash of diverse indie rock that has more in common with Rainer Maria than TBS. Still laying down the thick emotions, Nolan and lovely sister Michelle craft poppy rock dripping with originality, yet comfortably so. Their debut album was gorgeous and here they have further carved themselves a niche within the punk pop rock scene. This can only be good for the hundreds of kids still singing along to TBS, as "How Do I Fix My Head” or "The Miracle That Never Came” require some thought. Always willing to take risks, Straylight Run are successful because of their ability to try new things and make them work. "Take It to Manhattan” is piano-led and just as invigorating as the best moments on their last release, Prepare to be Wrong EP, yet sounds more focused and experienced. Sleepy moments appear during "Cover Your Eyes” and "We’ll Never Leave Again” but that doesn’t mean you’ll fall asleep. You may be thinking you’re too old for Straylight Run (your musical tastes have significantly developed over the past six years) and you’re right. The good news is Straylight have grown as well, so wipe the slate clean and lend an ear. (Universal Republic)