Beyond me how H2O got on a major label. I mean, I know why they got signed • they’re super-catchy pop-punk, after all, and pretty damn good at it, too • but a big underground draw with mega amounts of street cred to spare? Call it the “best worst idea of 2001” next to Cradle Of Filth signing with Sony. By and large, H2O’s major-label debut, Go, is a lot like Dag Nasty’s considerably softer yet more diverse one, Field Day, many moons ago, in that both bands’ respective pop-punks are pretty damn similar (you do the math) and, hey, frontman Toby Morse’s über-anthemic/melodic vox are certainly inspired by Nasty’s Dave Smalley. The results? Not too considerable of a softening but softened nonetheless, Go is pretty much H2O’s patented, tried n’ true pop-punk, that softening hardly hindering the quintet except when the polka pace picks up, Todd Friend’s drums get lost in the mix. So, nothing more, nothing less, and aside from a few well-meaning bids for 120 Minutes rotation (the Rocket From the Cryptic “I Want, I Want” and the Samiamian “Memory Lane,” a damn fine tune by any account), Go finds H2O alive and most definitely well. Who’d a-thunk it?

MCA Records, 2220 Colorado Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404; http://www.mcarecords.com, http://www.h2ogo.com

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