The members of the Say So have a lot to say — mostly about their faults and their past relationships, of which they remain firmly critical. "It's not me," lead singer Sean Palmer bleats on their latest album. "It's you." On The Romantic, the emotional foursome blurs the lines between earnest and overwrought as the guys wade through personal history and self-doubt folded into tinny guitar solos and ambient electronica. The cues here are direct, linking the band to predecessors like Thrice and Rise Against through the act's self-aware, if occasionally self-conscious, pursuit of melodic punk. The Say So's history and arrangements reflect a close-knit relationship initiated by three of the four while in high school, and periodically, the shallow lyrics and obvious pop sympathies suggest they're still there. But to close the book too early would be to ignore songs like "Wake Up Your Eyes/Oh Child," the album's atmospheric closer, which reinforces the band's raw drive and confirms its ultimate knack for pulsing, heart-sore strain.
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