So I finally got my grubby little hands on the new Lucky Boys Confusion CD, after weeks of searching and harassing the ops on IRC. Thank God!

"Commitment," from Lucky Boys, drops October 21st. It's their second major label record on Elektra, following their 2001 debut with "Throwing the Game." "Commitment" keeps LBC pushing into the dangerous void of polished pop-punk that started with their last CD. Thankfully, LBC doesn't drop the ball.

The CD carries the same clean sound of the aforementioned "Throwing the Game," obviously a stark contrast from earlier, smaller releases. Unlike its predecessor, "Commitment" does not contain any old tracks off those indy discs. Instead, we're treated to 16 brand spanking new Lucky Boys tunes. Rock on!

The album's intro kicks off with a reggae-ish beat, paralleling "Throwing the Game," but this time it's a full minute and it's its own track, called "Champion's Dub." It's actually an abridged version of the album's very last song.

That rolls into the album's first single, "Hey Driver." It offers a good kick-in-the-ass start to the album, a real upbeat and poppy song, perfect for radio. I enjoy it for what it's worth, but the "singalong" portions where the whole band chimes in, and the obligatory "hey!"s sound tired and typical.

The album starts to change direction with "Broken," a bit harder and faster... not quite as expected after the first two tracks. This is why we love Lucky Boys - all the tainted beauty of the tired genre that is pop-punk, but enough talent and varied genres spliced in to make it interesting, listenable and, ironically, fresh. You don't have to be ashamed to listen!

The new version of "Mr. Wilmington" with the whole band is a big change from the previous acoustic that has been online for awhile, but it works.

Stubhy's voice really shines on "Beware" and "Closer to the Grave." Most definitely album highlights, along with the funky beat and piano on "You Weren't There," another stand out.

On the other hand, "These Days" and "Something to Believe" come off as overly produced and, while good songs, really don't fit very well on the album, especially with the synth beats in the background. Death to Ace of Base.

The low point would be "Sunday Afternoon," some sort of attempt at a reggae/rap track with a guest MC (can't make out what his name is with his accent). It's not really a horrible song, it's just on the wrong album, and more techno beats that aren't needed.

All in all, it's an enjoyable album and, while not quite up to par with "Throwing the Game," shows a great deal of promise for the Chi-town boys and proves they haven't missed a step in their two year hiatus. Recommended.

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Reverend Hughes