Unwritten Law

San Diego's Unwritten Law wears its drama on its tattered, beer-stained sleeve. Rehab, girl problems, band infighting--it's all here. Maintaining cred is always an issue with a punk band, but UL has earned enough points with real-life exploits--heroin addiction, unceremoniously firing drummer Wade Youman last year--that it can get away with some pretty un-punk things, like collaborating with 4 Non Blondes' Linda Perry (the hit-maker behind Gwen, Pink and X-Tina). Call it selling out, but the Perry-enhanced single "Save Me" is flat-out bitchin', and so's most of this record. Unlike Blink-182, which serves up the pop in its pop-punk with pierced tongue in cheek, Unwritten Law embraces its Top 40 leanings, sporting epic choruses, slick production and sweet harmonies. Teenage girls will throw panties onstage for the "ooh aah"-laden "Walrus," and anyone who denies the flypaper stickiness of "I Like the Way" and "She Said" must've flunked a few grades in the school of rock.
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Maya Kroth