Stryder Jungle City Twitch

Isn't it amazing what a difference a line-up shake-up can have on a band? Even though the chief songwriters of this Long Island quartet remain the same as on their brilliant two-year-old debut, the songs on this sophomore release sound vastly different from anything they've done before. Gone is the flat-out pop-punk fury, replaced with a more introspective and, dare I say, mature approach to songwriting. With guitarist Peter Toh and writing partner Scottie Redix (who has moved from drums to second guitar) now assuming vocal duties in place of the departed John Johansen, the songs were bound to take on a new sound. But the writing style has almost completely changed as well. It's almost like they had intensive Police and Cure listening sessions before sitting down to write this record. And similar the metamorphosis undergone by "emo" fixtures Saves the Day, the Promise Ring and the Get Up Kids, it is, generally speaking, for the better. With so many "emo" bands flooding the market, it's only those who grow beyond the constricting limitations of the genre that will, or even deserve to, survive. That being the case, I say long live the Stryder! (Equal Vision)