Notorious to many for their backstory -- vocalist Bert McCracken, an ex-Mormon and recovering drug addict, who reveled in his unshowered state when he dated Kelly Osbourne, has a propensity for losing his lunch onstage and was once homeless -- the Utah quartet thrashed and screeched away its Dickensian past on radio monsters "A Taste of Ink" and "Blue and Yellow." In Love and Death, the band's sophomore album, visits similar hook-filled nirvana on "Take It Away," a glorious tune with a stuttering cyclone chorus punctuated by desperately hoarse yelps. However, the rest of Death doesn't maintain this crackling, off-the-rails tension; "Light With the Sharpened Edge," in fact, veers dangerously into plasticine Simple Plan territory. Still, the lack of primal screamo isn't all disappointing. "It's Hard to Say" is a heartfelt elegy to a lost loved one, with introspective breakthroughs that would satisfy any good shrink.
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