Following the end of their contractual obligations with Victory Records, The Audition have opted to self-release ‘Chapter II’ and, as inferred in the title, it brings about a fresh start for the Chicago based pop punkers. As a whole the record is a distinct move away from the more emotive constructions of Victory led efforts, the fun-factor throughout the six tracks is turned up to eleven (a la ‘The Way You Move’ from their self-titled album), however those expecting a momentous step forward will be left slightly disappointed.

‘Chapter II’ may continue down the path laid out by the previous four albums, but there is an air of maturity about the release. Despite the increase in catchy melodies and the unavoidable abundance of pop sensibilities, the resulting sound feels more considered and grown up. Even the obligatory ballad (‘You Gotta Believe’) does not feel out of place when laid alongside the Panic At The Disco-esque ‘Talkin’ or the theatrical ‘EVIL’. It is left to the opening two tracks (‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and single ‘You Make Me Sick’) to provide the overtly danceable moments that retain all the characteristics needed to cement regular club DJ rotation.

‘Chapter II’ saw a US release some time ago, meaning those fans who have been following The Audition for some time will have undoubtedly heard the record and made judgements upon it already, but this serves to increase the “fresh start” element, as the UK release aims to pull in a new fan base. Those new to The Audition will be attracted to the fundamentals of the record, and for those familiar with the band, ‘Chapter II’ may be a new start in some terms, but this is definitely an evolution rather than a revolution.

BEN TIPPLE