The high energy punk-pop of Blacktop Mourning is certainly an interesting choice for Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz to champion as the first signing to his new record label.
However, despite the bluff and bluster of opener “6AM,” it soon becomes clear from listening to No Regret that the Chicago five-piece are a little more cerebral than your average punk-pop outfit, and have an extremely bright future ahead.
With exposure on MTV and 500,000 spins on Myspace to their credit already, Duritz’s punt on Blacktop Mourning looks sound commercially, and with the virtuoso guitar skills of Max Steger, they are the real deal musically too. Coming across as a blend of Jack’s Mannequin and Sum 41, Duritz’s influence is all over songs such as the standout “Don’t Defend,” “Future’s Gone” and the ballad “Hardly Recognize,” while the band’s instinct to rock out manifests itself on powerful tracks such as “My Only Heart” and “Halfway To Midnight.”
Blacktop Mourning may not emulate the success of Counting Crows with No Regret but it’s heartening to see Duritz putting his money where his mouth is and backing a local band he clearly believes in.
Blacktop Mourning: www.blacktopmourning.com