Forty Winks

One could easily write off Bologna, Italy's Forty Winks as just another group of punks with a number in their band's name, tattoos on their arms and their hearts on their sleeves. But the comparisons to blink-182 and Sum 41's juvy-punk (which are surely expectable and, on some songs, not entirely unfair) are just part of the equation. Besides the expected radio-friendly pop-punk tunes with head-bobbing rhythms and sing-along choruses, Forty Winks' To the Lonely Hearts also serves up old-school (we're talking AC/DC-style) full-on rock riffs ("Sick") and '50s-esque sock-hop bops ("To the Lonely Hearts," which sounds like it needs some ooohhhhs and suddenly it has those, plus a helping of sha-la-la-las).

From the beginning ("Anchor," stopping and going and stopping and going like a bus route) to the end ("To the Very Lonely Hearts," a ballad version of the earlier song with sparse guitars, soft vocals and, oddly enough, a choral group), Forty Winks bounces through song after song about girls, girls, girls and a cover of Guns N' Roses' "You're Crazy." The four-piece may have the dual vocal stylings of The Queers, but Forty Winks make even Joe Queer seem sunnily optimistic. Unlike many of its counterparts, this band's lyrics aren't disposable or silly filler, which makes this End Records debut better than the many Hot Topic bands out there.

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Shannon Sutlief