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WITH OR WITHOUT YOU - Six Reasons To Drop Out CD

Don't let the invariably U2-referencing name fool you; With or Without You is in fact a hardcore band whose debut mini-CD, Six Reasons to Drop Out tries so hard to exceed expectations, it actually contains seven tracks. (Maybe one of them -- possibly the instrumental "The Campaign" or the unusually melodic "True to Def" -- is advocating dropping back in?) But, except for a few special moments found in "Check Your Head" and "The Precious," and despite obeying classic hardcore rules (mid-paced chugging riffs, gang shouts, and lead vocals front and center), the band's efforts simply come off a little too civilized to get the blood pumping. Let's face it, hardcore requires a little built-in chaos and aggression to effectively get its message across, and these tunes -- although uniformly competent and efficient -- simply lack that built-in danger. Oh, and no, the song named "Smell the Glove" appears to be in no way affiliated with Spinal Tap.