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[Off The Record]
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The Stryder
MASQUERADE IN THE KEY OF CRIME
(Equal Vision)

Itís no secret that emo, with its picture-perfect vocal harmonies and tales of lost love, is the suburban punk version of teen pop. With their close connections to East Coast emo titans Saves the Day, Long Islandís the Stryder are the latest group of fetching teenage lads to bust out of the íburbs and stake their claim as the next Blink-182. Produced by esteemed hardcore knob twiddler Brian McTernan (Cave In, Reach the Sky), the bandís debut is a sleek collection of candy-coated tearjerkers with more than its share of punk guitar buzz. They deliver their biggest hardcore jolt on the opening " Sucker, " where singer John Johansen gets played by his honey but sticks around for the sex the way Fred Durst did on " Nookie. " Elsewhere, Johansen fantasizes about driving into Manhattan for a date with a " New York Woman " and (more realistically) feels a little awkward the day after screwing his prom date. The Stryderís choruses arenít always as memorable as Saves the Dayís, and the dreadful eight-minute piano ballad that ends the disc should have been scrapped. But these pretty boys are on the rise.

(The Stryder headline an all-ages matinee at Billís Bar this Sunday, February 25. Call 421-9678.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON





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