My friends in the Crash Bandits asked if I could write them up a quick blurb for their bio. Doesn't need to be long, I was told, and just should hit a couple of the high points in the standard impersonal-if-a-little-pretentious tone of any regular band bio. Sure, I said, I'd be happy to, so long as I wouldn't have to say anything about "soaring guitars" or "chugging baselines." I was assured I wouldn't.

So I will do my best to fulfill said charge: The Crash Bandits are a three-piece band from Minneapolis, with a sound you might label "pop punk and beyond," with strains of hardcore, grunge, 80's and 90's alternative, and whatever stamp you'd give The Pixies. They could be lumped in with what is now called "emo revival," which basically describes bands using the catchiness of pop and the edge of punk and the feel of emo without the heavy-handed, trite, and generally fake tropes that brought down emo the first time around. The album in question, Lighten Up, is their second full-length. They've toured the midwest and east coast, played SXSW, and have played a number of major shows in Minneapolis.

But while I have the floor I'd be remiss if I didn't put in my two cents about what I like so much about the Crash Bandits in the first place, and why I think the record at hand is worth the time of whomever may be reading this. The Crash Bandits are seasoned in making songs that make perfect sense even though whatever you think is going to happen next in the song never does. These are rock solid, air tight, 0-percent-body-fat pop songs (and I mean that -- I'm not embellishing for the sake of this bio) with enough bells and whistles to keep you keenly engaged the whole time but not so many that the musicality gets obscured or your head-bobbing is ever thrown off.

In 2013 the Bandits put out a full-length called Better Off that you and more or less the rest of the world have never heard. There's something both satisfying and unnerving about knowing a secret like Better Off, and some days I wish I could shout it from the mountain tops and others it feels kind of special that its exposure is limited to a handful of people we know. What's ultimately so good about listening to Better Off is you get the sense that the people involved pushed themselves to the very limit of what they can do, and a bit further, and left no musical stone that they could have any business unturning, unturned. What's so good about listening to Lighten Up is the same, but this time the starting boundaries were bigger, and the craftsmanship more dialed in, and it yielded a product that I think stands up to anything in the genre -- whatever you want to call it -- coming out today. This time I'm hoping more people get the memo.

-Trevor Born (Glow Mechanics)