In an age where punk rock bands such as Toronto favourites Pup are being lauded for their raw immediacy, showcasing maturity doesn’t often elicit the most forgiving of responses. Signals Midwest, however, benefit from taking their time on their sophomore full-length. The arrangements are more drawn out than their debut, Latitudes and Longitudes, and vocalist/guitarist Max Stern has perfected an everyman snarl.

Held afloat by lyrics that showcase Stern’s tumultuous transition into adulthood, Signals Midwest employ sweeping choruses to showcase an unwavering sense of possibility. It’s easy to get lost in the engulfing four building minutes of “An Echo, a Strain,” though Stern always maintains the plot by quickly coming back to Earth with burning riffs in “Lowercase” and “A Room You Once Called Yours.”

Part of a growing trend, Signals Midwest is rescuing the “emo” tag from sad bastard acts and is instead making revealing and grown-up punk rock. They’ve evolved into a band to scream along to not out of childish frustration, but instead to attain a better understanding of your own personal evolution.

By Joshua Kloke

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