Knowing full well that one person's cliché is another's classicism, the astute music reviewer nevertheless should note that If You Speak Any Faster, the debut album by the Chicago-based indie band June, is only the latest in the seemingly endless string of post-emo, pop-core records built from trad-punk guitar riffs twisted into sweet melodies, arena-scope hard-rock rhythms and dueling vocalists spitting out bitter, precociously clever broken-heart lyrics.
Listeners well-schooled in the earnest but not-uncommon sounds of such acts as Hawthorne Heights, Taking Back Sunday and, especially, Fall Out Boy will be familiar this modus operandi.
While it all comes off as suspiciously familiar, there's something fresh and original about June as well. Maybe it's the way their guitars twine together to remind us of dinosaur-rock such as Rush and Boston. Maybe it's the moderately catchy pop hooks.
Maybe it's how co-singers Tim Brennan and AJ Brown bring a convincing intensity to songs about failed relationships. Makes sense, too. We've all been involved in rotten romances that we wanted to think were unique.
The formula actually yields some fresh-sounding tunes near the album's end, such as "I Write B Movies" and "You Had It Coming." But it's impossible to tell whether the final track, "I've Got the Time If You Have the Argument," is tribute to or parody of Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Goin' Down."