• grace gale Stronger Faster Science (CD, £4.95)

    label: Creep Records

    This is a story of natural reinvention. The Denver-based band that used to take pleasure in blowing kids' faces off with their hardcore/screamo now comes up in the Google sidebar of boys and girls searching for Panic At the Disco and Brand New. No know-it-all record label guy was calling the shots; it just happened. As the dust settled from their 2005 release A Few Easy Steps to Secure Heli Camel Safety, Grace Gale suffered a massive line-up change and only two original members remained. Guitarist Rex Madden, 25, and drummer Graham Cheek, 22, were left holding the reins of the band, but instead of letting them go, they strapped in and pulled them back tight. Stronger Faster Science taps right into the celebrated pop-punk sphere, but Owen's vast vocal ability breathes a veil of fire over the widely coveted sound. Charged tracks like "Pack Mentality" and mellower songs like "Fairweather" grab on to you with familiarity to make you comfortable, but enough wry off-the-cuff perspective to keep you entrenched. These ten tracks are invigorating live, and with Owen completing the lineup, Madden and Cheek were finally able to fulfil their true vision of the band: a hard-edged rock group with full-bodied melodic scope.

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