Missile put the pedal to the metal on City Animals, their in-your-face, five-song EP that clocks in at just over 13 minutes. That's not much time, but Missile jet through it quickly, conjuring up rock 'n' roll imagery of fast Saturday nights with songs about neon signs, Camaros and "livin' loud" in the process.

But, high energy aside, the lyrically straightforward, squeaky clean EP — there isn't a single cuss word to be heard here — has an oddly family-friendly vibe. It's punk rock for all ages, really. Like Heat Seeking, the band's debut EP, City Animals is all fist-pumps, too, as lead vocalist Aaron Bender howls over rippling guitar riffs and rapid percussion. Each track melds into the next, without much sonic variation. Opening track "Pray For Me" is a plea for redemption. Meanwhile, the hook-heavy, "Frankie 45," pays tribute to the late Deep Ellum punk rocker. Neither topic is a laughing matter, but it's hard to tell if the band is taking itself seriously.

Missile's live show only reinforces the confusion. The band's image is well thought-out, with a red neon Missile sign glowing behind them as they perform in matching studded maroon leather jackets, showcasing moves that look like they've been rehearsed. One can't help but wonder if the rocker persona is a bit tongue-in-cheek — and, worse, it's tough to tell if that's a good thing. But at least Missile are sticking to their guns and don't-give-a-shit attitude. Even if they're faking it, it's clear that this is a band that knows what rock 'n' roll is all about.

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Catherine Downes
Contact: Catherine Downes