By Designated Driver
Middlesex's Designated Driver do what a lot of modern Emo frat-party nu-punk rockers don't - they actually write songs that feel like they mean it rather than purely sounding good when you've got a skinful.
Coming from Staines can't inspire much other than a purposeful sense of emptiness and DD do a good job of getting it across, hell they even start the CD with the grim sound of an English summer... rain! Heights are reached with the paired down moments offered by Jon Riley when exposed with acoustic guitar and minimum instrumentation. Demonstrated on the opening of "An Oceanless Coastline" or the excellent "Entertained". The rock also rolls and some true guitar love is delivered as with "Last 11". Passion occasionally gets the better of the band and some of the adrenalin guitar fests, stop start arrangements and time changes become a little wandering pushing a couple of the tracks past their premium length (My Cliff Diving Days).
Full marks too for a self-produced release that doesn't sound like it, so much so that you might fear had this been done on a big budget it would have lost some of its soul.
This is not tomorrow's music, it's been done before and the genre has been well saturated. But this kind of quality will carry and the kids will always have bedrooms in which to play air guitar.