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Bluto's Revenge 

When Obsession Leads to Unemployment (Thunderous Records)

Here's another Cleveland band that can feed its passion with temp jobs and extended bar tabs. But just the fact that they're still around warrants some props. After all, the meager success they had in the pop-punk world of the mid-'90s certainly didn't lead to hefty savings accounts. So they've stuck with it through thin and thinner, right up to the knowing title of their latest album.

These half-pipe vets are looking to fit into any number of niches that have splintered off that '90s skate-punk sound. There's straight buzz punk ("Feel So Much Better"), a Death of Samantha cover ("Good Friday"), and a few poppier numbers that are hampered by flat singing. Lyrically, they wisely veer away from the nose-pick nuttiness of yore. But then there's also a chunky metal instrumental that varies the tempo but doesn't really go anywhere. In the same way, Bluto's Revenge is having fun just chugging along, in no particular direction.

Speaking of Regional Beat

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More by Eric Davidson

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