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Stop the World

Riddlin' Kids

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Album Review

Riddlin' Kids' sophomore full-length arrives a full two years after Hurry up and Wait, and finds the Austin combo expanding from the slick pop-punk of their first effort. Their harmonies are still in place for Stop the World, and loud guitars are generally the rule. But in conjunction with producers Chuck Gladfelter (ex of Dovetail Joint) and Paul Ebersold, the Kids have smoothed out their punk influences for a broader rock sound punctuated by big hooks and tingly guitar lines. While "Promise You Anything" and "Get to It" are comparable to the brash, energetic pop-punk of a groups like Simple Plan, "Never Let It Down" and "Talk of the Town" are more pop than anything, suggesting the sound of Chicago's Lucky Boys Confusion. This modified sound suits Riddlin' Kids really well. Clint Baker's voice is versatile enough to rasp or soar, and the band hasn't made any concessions in the rowdy guitar department. Instead they apply both those traits to songs with an emphasis on strong, radio-ready hooks that aren't hemmed in by the pop-punk demographic. Other Stop the World highlights include the driving, '80s rock-inspired "Revenge," the rousing vestiges of hardcore in "Ship Jumper," and the powerful riff of the lead single/title track. World might sound like a mixed bag to some fans, but in the interim since Hurry up and Wait, Riddlin' Kids have found something to give them some definition, and a life beyond pop-punk adolescence.

Stop the World, Riddlin' Kids
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