It’s been a few years since I heard a Comeback Kid studio album. I reviewed their recent live album but I skipped ‘Broadcasting’ and so cannot really say whether that was the marmite album that seemed to split fans down the middle or not. I can say, however, that ‘Symptoms and Curses’ is really good. It seems to perfectly marry the mainstream production values that bands of this size now need to replicate, while maintaining energy and a frenetic feel. This record really buzzes, there’s a fire in their bellies and this album sounds all the better for it. ‘Balance’, for instance, is an absolute killer of a track with some really throaty screams, brilliant gang vocals (which are a standout throughout) and some real killer riffs.

It’s the riffs that make this record stand out from even the first listen. I could rattle off about half a dozen tracks that make an immediate impact (‘Crooked Floors’, ‘GM Vincent & I’, the aforementioned ‘Balance’, ‘Magnet Pull’…) that pretty much grab you by the scruff of the neck and force you to stand up and take notice. Andrew Neufeld’s vocals really are spot on throughout. he spits fury and the difference between a lot of bands at this level is whether what he says is believable. I don’t think too many people who listen to this record would ever claim Neufeld is not honest and believable on this album.

There’s the odd track that doesn’t quite live up to the high standards of some of the others – why bands of this ilk feel slower tracks like ‘Get Alone’ ‘fit’ on albums like this, I’m not sure – but overall this is a great record. It’s raucous and passionate and has everything you need. Comeback of the year? Possibly so…