Quickening's Ones and Zeroes deserves a listen -- and now. What initially seems like another run-of-the-mill pop-punk affair quickly jells into a catchy distillation of all things post-grunge: Blink's springy guitars, Sum 41's pogo-inducing song structures, emo's soft/hard dynamics, indie rock's earnestness, and on occasion, modern rock's bombastic choruses. In the right hands, this disc could hit big.
James Isom turns in triple duty on vocals, guitars, and keyboards, and his rough edges in the former two capacities contribute mightily to the album's no-brakes thrill ride. On an album full of sensitive-guy lyrics ("I am waiting for you," "I've felt this before but it goes away," "I know how you feel," "I loved you way too much," etc.), Isom emerges as vulnerable, but never whiny. Quickening stands a chance to earn points with radio listeners as well as those who gave up on radio long ago.