Guilt Show
Artist: The Get Up Kids
Format: CD
New: Available $17.99

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"The pop-punk pizzazz of the Get Up Kids' 1997 full-length debut Four Minute Mile forever pegged the Kansas City fivesome as plucky princelets of the emo scene, revered by geeky young romantics across the land. Yet somewhere along the way, as peers like Braid and the Promise Ring disintegrated, victims of growing up in public, TGUK began experiencing an identity crisis. By the time of 2002's On a Wire, a toned-down dabbling in post-rock experimentation, that crisis was full-blown.

Not anymore. While Guilt Show does represent a partial return to the hookish, energetic emo well, and many of the genre's traditional concerns-generational angst, fretting over relationships-crop up in the lyrics, there's a distinctively classic-pop sound at this confident record's core. The better tunes channel icons at once overt (several arrangements are, in their complexity, quite Beatle-esque) and subtle (some may hear the Clash in ""The One You Want"" but the strutting manifesto is actually closer to vintage Raspberries). The best cut, ""Martyr Me"" features a glistening Searchers/Byrds 12-string riff and a churning powerpop vibe straight outta Plimsouls territory, while ""Sick in Her Skin,"" a lush, at times symphonic number, recalls Cheap Trick circa Dream Police, right down to the glossy synth flourishes and edgy Robin Zander-like vocals. Life, it seems, actually did begin before the first Weezer and Green Day albums, and Guilt Show marks the reemergence of a band unafraid to reach backwards for inspiration even as it moves forward artistically.

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