Southern California's Saosin (pronounced "Sau-shin") is the latest great emo hope. The band's metal-plated 2003 debut EP, Translating the Name -- featuring singer Andy Green (Circa Survive), former Slayer drum tech Pat McGrath, and one-time Ashlee Simpson bassist Zach Kennedy -- became a grassroots sensation, even as the lineup underwent wholesale changes. Saosin's initial double-bass blasts and strong-arm guitar faded, as Green's high-pitched vocals became a part of the past. The group's sound congealed into a model of Warped-era pop: squeaky-clean harmonies over big guitars that practically shimmer, usually atop hopeful vocals.
Despite changes in the band's sound, the crowds keep coming, hungry for new material. Last year, the group signed with Capitol Records, which is set to issue the band's overdue, self-titled debut September 26. Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, Head Automatica) produced the disc, which cranks up the sheen from last year's self-titled EP, breezing from double-guitar crunch to anthemic choruses. Compared to the band's initial sound, Saosin mark II is slighter, if more commercially formidable.