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Cervantes:
Making Friends and Enemies ****

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

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CERVANTES: Making Friends and Enemies

It’s hard not to hear the raw, wryly disaffected fervor of a young and still proudly unpolished Jawbreaker on Making Friends and Enemies, the exhilarating debut from San Francisco’s latest punk-flavored concoction, Cervantes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Rather than presenting a reasonable facsimile of their post-hardcore forebears, the tight-knit four-piece recaptures the ferocious spirit of a time before pop-punk came to be synonymous with bubblegum – you know, for the kids.

Here, lead singer Pat Scanlan lends his throaty, endearingly ragged snarl to a series of up-tempo missives (“You’re Cold,” “Pushing Rope”) and moody meditations on relationships gone sour (“Damaged Goods”). If the tone isn’t always sunny, though, the results are invigorating and surprisingly self-assured, filled with irrepressible hooks that demand repeat listening. There’s potential here, no doubt. But there is also compelling evidence of a band whose songcraft is already accomplished beyond their years. Strongly recommended.

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