Put on your best threads and strap on your dancing shoes, 'cause the Audition is coming by to pick you up and paint the town red with the best Pop-Punk record of the year! Champion, the band's 2008 release, is stacked full of hooks, riffs, beats and sing-a-longs that are catchier than the common cold. Their impeccable Rock anthems have spread across the globe like a wild fire, charming the critics and putting audiences into a mad frenzy. The Audition is sure to put a smile on your face and get your body moving. The weather may be getting cold, but Champion is hotter than hell and ready to be one of this year's most infectious records.
This group has a lot in common with emo rock darlings such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco. Led by singer Danny Stevens, the Audition tear into "Basbhat" with a certain confidence and melody, mixing the old and the new. Meanwhile, "Warm Me Up" is an interesting, hi-energy number that shifts gears on a dime with the verses recalling the Cure in their '80s heyday. The only problem being the guitar solo is a bit over-the-top and hard to swallow. However the record begins to slide down a slippery slope with a run-of-the-mill effort in "Heaven for the Weather" which is safe and lacks any edge, verve, or bite. Fortunately "Edinboro" fares better and brings to mind Simple Minds and Duran Duran if they were heavily guitar-influenced. However, Champion is a rather uneven affair throughout the record, with "Ether" coming off OK but not anything to get truly excited about. The lone asset to the song is the work of drummer Ryan O'Conner. Perhaps the highlight of the album is when the Audition slows things down for the melancholic, slow-building "What Gets You Through the Night" that comes up very strong, resembling a tight, punchy cross between Maroon 5 and U2. Another sleeper pick is the sparkling "Make It Rain." Overall, the Audition pass the audition, but not with flying colors. ~ Jason MacNeil, Rovi