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Fun in the sun

Paramore - Riot!
(Fueled By Ramen)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: July 9, 2007

Review by Andy Argyrakis

After building up a grassroots following around Franklin, Tennessee and signing to Fueled By Ramen, Paramore made the usual pop/punk rounds of Warped Tour, plus dates with Simple Plan, Straylight Run and Bayside. Add in some support from Fuse TV, acceptance at indie radio, plus a coveted slot at New Jersey's Bamboozle Festival, and the female fronted quintet quickly graduated to headlining status.

But the elevation in billing isn't the group's only evolutionary step as of late thanks to a generally creative leap forward on Riot!, which showcases the best of pure bred pop, mall flavored punk and sun soaked rock. The project launches right in between pop and punk come the cheekily titled "For a Pessimist I'm Pretty Optimistic," which is the first of several lighthearted but contagiously hopeful reflections on the record. The band then settles into the summertime groove for "That's What You Get," which recalls the peak periods of No Doubt or Save Ferris, minus the horn heavy ska sound. Those bright and shiny beats also permeate "When It Rains," during which singer Hayley Williams mirrors a mix of former Veruca Salt singer Nina Gordon and Garbage's Shirley Manson (minus the electronic elements).

Though the foursome occasionally comes too close to their influences at times (such as the fellow No Doubt dipped "Born For This" or the Evanescence tipped piano ballad "We Are Broken"), Williams interjects just enough of her own inflections and charm to make the tunes their own. The band's other potential problem could come from punk purists, who are likely to find much of Riot! as way too tame for their tastes, (though that faction is best flipping to the aggressive "Hallelujah" or the momentum building "Let the Flames Begin"). Even so, pre-existing fans are expected to fall in love with Paramore's potpourri all over again, while continued radio acceptance probably won't be that far around the corner.

Watch Paramores' "Misery Business" video

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