Review Rundown! Breathe Carolina, the Sunstreak, 69 Eyes, Super 400, Twin Atlantic

This time the Review Rundown features looks at new releases from Breathe Carolina, the Sunstreak, 69 Eyes, Super 400 and Twin Atlantic.

Breathe Carolina – ‘Hello Fascination’ (Fearless Records): Breathe Carolina are the poster boys for experimentation, a fact their fans both love and revere, something there is surely no shortage of on their latest, ‘Hello Fascination.’ Following the release of their debut, ‘Its Classy, Not Classic,’ these boys from Denver clearly had no glass ceiling in terms of what they could accomplish musically. They have gone nowhere but up, amping up their unique sonic tidal wave for ‘Hello Fascination,’ a record full of dance infused electro-pop with R&B undertones. ‘Take Me to Infinity’ and ‘I.D.a.A.F.’ are concise techno distilled dance marathons, while the majority of ‘Hello Fascination’ proves that Breathe Carolina can both get the party started and keep it going until the break of dawn. If you’re not moving while listening, you best check your pulse. (

Grade: B
Go Download: ‘I’m the Type of Person to Take It Personal’

The Sunstreak – ‘Once Upon a Lie’ (Merovingian Music): Rochester, NY has a great and well known music scene, having spawned such bands as the Gym Class Heroes and Down to Earth Approach, and you might be able to add the Sunstreak to that list. Their debut, ‘Once Upon a Lie,’ packs the energetic punch to garner them the right attention, but the band would be better served concentrating on songs like ‘Great White Coma,’ ‘Until I Met You’ and ‘By the Way’ rather than songs like ‘Stay.’ The downside of this record are tracks like the latter that make the record sounds like most everything else. The Sunstreak can go far on the laurels of vocalist Tony Rebis, whose voice can craft a hook like few else, although his songwriting might need a tune up. The lyrical content deals with much of the norm nowadays (girls, relationships, etc.), but the bands penchant for outstanding melodies trumps that fact. ‘Here in My Arms’ shows the band can effectively tackle a heartfelt ballad with youthful earnest, and much of the same goes for ‘I’m Through.’ All in all ‘Once Upon a Lie’ is a great jumping off point, an album brimming with emotionally fueled melody and big time sound. You better get your sunglasses on because the Sunstreak’s future could be bright. ( )

Grade: B
Go Download: ‘Until I Met You’

The 69 Eyes – ‘Back in Blood’ (Virgin Records): The 69 Eyes have always been mentioned in the same breath as H.I.M. (but these guys won’t send you to the bathtub with a razorblade), something that probably will continue with their latest, ‘Back in Blood.’ Let the comparisons begin after listening to ‘Night Watch,’ a song Ville Valo himself would be proud of. But with this new disc, the 69 Eyes continue to separate themselves from all others, paving a new path with cocksure and dangerous rock and roll, a path thickly laid with debauchery fueled vocals and urgent songwriting from uber-talented frontman Jyrki 69 as well as sex soaked guitar riffs dripping with blood. ‘Back in Blood’ is an example of the type of forward thinking rock coming out of Europe today. The albums gothic touches add yet another layer of intrigue to an already mysterious release. Some of this record sounds slightly influenced by Rob Zombie (‘Back in Blood,’ ‘The Good, the Bad and the Undead’), but ‘Back in Blood’ mostly exudes a confidence and machismo sometimes lost in today’s oft-manufactured rock scene. This is one of the better pure guitar driven rock records of 2009 and is easily the bands best body of work yet. It’s a record that needs to be heard multiple times, so after the closer ‘Eternal’ ends, make sure you go ahead and it the play button again. (

Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Kiss Me Undead’

Super 400 – ‘Sweet Fist’ (Rock Ridge Music): ‘Sweet Fist’ is an easy listen for those looking to jam out to some pretty good guitar work. It plays long, although it isn’t quite at 12 tracks, but it doesn’t take much of this disc to realize what Super 400 are all about. ‘Sweet Fist; is a good combination of garage and blues that makes for a very stripped, non-frivolous record. The vocals are mostly sang by guitarist Kenny Hohman, except for ‘Flashlight’ when bassist Lori Friday takes hold of the microphone for one of the albums brighter moments. She carries a track better than her vocal counter-part, even though Hohman’s vocals are mostly admirable. The bands revved up take on Carole King’s classic track ‘I Can Feel the Earth Move’ highlights ‘Sweet Fist,’ and it comes complete with a couple of guitar solos as well as a modern swagger. Super 400 took the classic and made it their own. When you hear the track, you know you are listening to Super 400 (assuming you already knew they covered it). The solo ballad ‘Devil Song’ could’ve been better but still serves as a change of pace piece to round out the disc. (

Grade: C
Go Download: ‘Flashlight’

Twin Atlantic – ‘Vivarium’ (Red Bull Records): It doesn’t get much better than a Scottish band questioning what it means to be American (‘You’re Turning Into John Wayne’), which is just one of ‘Vivarium’s’ charms. This is one of the most honest records you will hear, one that has a certain unmatched authenticity to it. This album has heart. There is not one bad song as far as the eye can see, and they are all worth your time – every sensational hook, every guitar backed melodic groove – it all begs to be heard. Twin Atlantic isn’t quite Biffy Clyro, although the similarities are there, yet they are more Scotland’s version of Billy Talent. Their music has a slight sense of urgency behind it and is catchier than you’d expect, yet the music still remains raw in nature. There is one devious problem with ‘Vivarium’ – its only eight tracks long. Hopefully for all of our sakes, Twin Atlantic street a full length sooner than later. You better hurry and get these guys on your radar before all of your friends and you’re left wondering what could have been. ‘Vivarium’ is a good starting point for that. (

Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Human After All’