Staggered Crossing Last Summer When We Were Famous

They seemed well on their way to one-hit-wonder infinity (remember "Further Again?"), but these hard luck Toronto boys have weathered the loss of major label backing and a significant line-up overhaul to make a fresh start with this second album. It's fitting that they managed to hook up with Jay Bennett just as he was getting purged from Wilco, and the two parties clearly took the opportunity to use these sessions as a form of group therapy. The overall sound is lean and spiky, with guitars at the forefront and only some of Bennett's trademark texturing present. Main man Julian Taylor gets a lot off his chest, but more often he strikes back with ferocity, rather than self-pity, as in "Losing's Alright" and "Business As Usual." For a band that suffered a lot of derision by being plucked by a major out of complete obscurity, songs like these go a long way toward restoring credibility. However, Staggered Crossing is still a fairly conventional rock band, although Bennett's production brings out the best aspects of that. Hopefully, now that this record is out of their system, it will signal the beginning of new growth and the band will get to a place it should have been all along. (Independent)