I Was a Cub Scout - I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope
My Chemical Romance have been quiet of late and Panic! At the Disco have shocked all by releasing a grade-A pop song so, black-clad angst factories of the world, come forth and tell us just where did all the emo go? Their name is just a bit too cute but, with the release of debut album I Want You To Know That There Is Always Hope, young duo I Was a Cub Scout prove that the spirit of the much-maligned genre is very much alive - albeit in the form of their lush synth-pop.
It's been hanging around for a good year and a half but the single Pink Squares is probably the best place to start: its an angular pop joy that has time for the disco and is full-to-bursting with heart. Most of these eleven tracks aim to swell your hearts and make you swoon, sounding like what would happen if Death Cab's baby brothers started playing with their old instruments. Swirls of keyboard and stabs of guitar collide and co-exist over William Bowerman's driving beats, usually culminating in Coldplay's patented 'Epic Finish', especially evident on closing track A Step Too Far Behind which suggests stadium-sized ambition.
If they'll manage to make good on this is still a premature question, depending on whether they address the evident flaws in time for album number two. The lyrics offer rather simple platitudes, some proving poignant enough ('I put the pain in your neck/And you put the beat in my heart') while others are just plain twee ('waste your days with me'). Another distinguishing emo feature is vocalist Todd Marriott, whose delivery often fails to conceal the fact he was reared on Jimmy Eat World. While a bit more deviation would be appreciated too, the trumpet added to the mix on both Lucean and the more frenetic The Hunter's Daughter once again implies they want to explore a bigger sound. For now, this is a promising start that offers a much more appealing prospect to smudged eyeliner and long-sleeved jumpers.