The Deal: Formed in July 2010, the Rock Hill, S.C., quartet Fusebox Poet releases its 11-song debut album.
THE GOOD: The band hit the studio with the intention of recording an EP, but had enough material to release a full-length debut. Using energetic riffs to draw a listener in, the songwriting is a step above what I expected. While the Poets kick the album off with the melody-focused "Ashes & Apologies," the group quickly establishes an edge on the next track. Singer/pianist Drew Cyphers shows his vocal range on "Skylines & Fine Lines," while the band also offers a few harmonies. "Wasted Goodbyes" shows the band's ability in musical songwriting and more lyrical depth — using the piano for highlights during the verses which build to a strong rock chorus. The band's music comes across as familiar with plenty of potential to establish something of their own.
THE BAD: I really hope that wasn't Autotune I heard on "Cynic." Possibly too radio-friendly, which some will see as a bad thing. I wonder if a little more piano work would help to define their sound instead of being used for accents here and there.
THE VERDICT: A pleasant surprise and a band worth keeping an eye on. For only a few months together, the band sounds incredibly polished.