If there's room for a straight-up rock band in this genrefied age, the Finals are a good choice for taking on that role.
The best thing to say about New Jersey-based quintet the Finals is that they're not an easy band to label. They may have toured with AAA-level pop punkers like the Ataris, Midtown, and Autopilot Off, and their debut LP, Plan Your Getaway, was produced by Heath Seraceno, who has twiddled the knobs for the likes of Brand New and My Chemical Romance, but the Finals betray none of those bands' oh-woe-is-me immature tendencies. Instead, the Finals deliver a straight-between-the-eyes modern rock punch of a band that knows that it is capable of delivering the goods. There's plenty of twists to keep things interesting -- new-wavey keys on "They'll Never Know", the waltzing meta-song "Something to You" ("This song won't really change anything", goes the opening line) -- and more often than not, the Finals hit the mark. A weak closing third costs the album a point or two (memo to the band: drop the programmed drums on "Lightning and Fireworks"; you guys are an organic rock band), but it's nice to hear a young band carve their own path rather than wallow in the ruts of their forebears.