The Honky Tonk Angels
Carousel Dinner Theatre, 1275
East Waterloo Road, Akron
Through March 6, 800-362-4100
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The origins of Straylight Run have more musical melodrama than a high school production of West Side Story. At the height of Taking Back Sunday's ascent to the top of the emo food chain in spring 2003, SR founders John Nolan and Shaun Cooper left the Long Island screamo kingpins. The duo cited those ol' "creative differences" for their departure in interviews, but internet message boards were abuzz with rumors that, while on tour, TBS singer Adam Lazzara had cheated on his girlfriend -- who just happened to be John's sister Michelle, who now plays piano and guitar in Straylight Run. Sound like a storyline from The O.C. ? Just check out the tunes on the quartet's self-titled debut; their moody synth and whispery male-female vocal alternations conjure the Anniversary or Bright Eyes -- bands that angst-ridden denizens of the Bait Shop, the Fox series' concert hangout, no doubt worship. In fact, it's easy to imagine the band's lyrics -- "Still, I'm convinced that wondering 'what if' is the worst thing there is" -- scribbled in loopy handwriting on notebook paper, the musings of a deep-thinking amateur poet imprisoned in study hall.