CD Review

If listening to the Appearance's new EP sounds a little like being lost in Laguna Hills, there's good cause. The band's drummer, Justin McCarthy, moonlighted as Alex M.'s drummer, one of the MTV same-named, close-to-reality TV show's stars. However, it would not be fair to show him the door on that fact alone. We're not like that, at least not all the time.

The Appearance deliver irresistible pop punk. Even if you're not impressed, you're likely to think, "Well, there's nothing overtly wrong with it." And right then is when you realize your salad days are finis. The Appearance exude youthful peppiness, even when singing about love gone down the toilet. This music could fit perfectly with a day on your mother's couch, post-breakup, for a marathon Xbox or PS2 sesh.

In the vein of Jimmy Eat World, Hot Rod Circuit, Saves the Day and RX Bandits, these Orange County twentysomethings add a dash of 1980s metal to cock up their sound a bit. The Appearance are Warped Tour-ready, even if they haven't received their invitation yet. "You better learn how not to feel/Living without your sex appeal," front man Alan Oakes exhorts on "Drag." "Not a Soul" bursts with energetic fretwork, and the title track painfully explores unrequited love.

With anthemic choruses, crunchy guitars and door-hitting-your-ass breakup paeans, the Appearance deliver hard-driven, well-crafted songs. If The O.C. were still cramming the airwaves, That Chino Guy would go through some testosterone-fueled angst with this as his soundtrack.

Lost in Aurora is released May 22; it's available on iTunes May 8. For more information, visit

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