Newark's Boysetsfire delivers a passionate disposition on its fourth album, The Misery Index: Notes From the Plague Years. The post-hardcore quintet has endured shifty label relationships while crafting an honest punk-inspired sound over the past 12 years. The group's not totally emo or entirely indie rock, but fans of the Holy Fire, Hot Water Music, and the Dillinger Escape Plan should take to the angst-ridden catharsis of Boysetsfire.
The Misery Index marks the band's debut release for the upstate New York outfit Equal Vision and is the group's first album since 2003's Tomorrow Come Today. This time out, Boysetsfire sounds self-assured and ready to challenge the naysayers, which it does without getting lost in experimentation. Vocalist Nathan Gray offers an anxious performance throughout these 13 songs, gathering together some very politically charged lyrics. From the assertive album opener "Walk Astray" and the enigmatic, brass-heavy "So Long . . . Thanks for the Crutches" to the melodic heartaches such as "(10) and Counting," The Misery Index rages against the corporate machine without taking a breath.