[2 February 2010]
In many ways, Strung Out is the archetypical Fat Wreck Chords band. Mixing elements of metal with underground sounds and ultra-layered vocals, the Simi Valley fivesome makes music that is textbook California punk. Drummer Jordan Burns has ties to the motocross world that predate his 17 years on the label, and that crossover has kept Strung Out as the soundtrack to a host of broken bones and emergency-room visits. Vocalist Jason Cruz has a set of pipes, and the band seems to get tighter with every record. Though there not a lot of new ground gets broken on Agents of the Underground, that is hardly the point. Seven records in, Strung Out fails to fix what isn’t broken. While vanity seems to be the best amalgamation of its harmonized metal leads and punk throwdown, you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad track on Agents of the Underground.