Back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s rock groups such as Jimmy Eat World and Modest Mouse were staged to usher in a new era of power pop giving homage to traditional hardcore staples like Fugazi and Rites of Spring. But instead of creating a new paradigm these bands were relegated to the sidelines while obnoxious emo groups populated the radio and MTV with carbon copied whiney angst-rock which barely resembled the Washington D.C. scene it had supposedly come from. HIJK, with their new album The Pen and the Letter, is an apt example of what should have sprung forth from the late ‘90s hardcore scene. The band, who had previously been named Hijack the Disco, uses dueling vocals, choppy guitar riffs, and melodic verses to make pleasant adrenaline-fueled rock music. Opener “Alibi” shows how the Oakland outfit uses all these ingredients to create a sound which urges you to stop buying mediocre Modest Mouse albums and start listening to something new.
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