Boys and girls, let me introduce you to some friends of mine: Late Bloomer. Hailing from Charlotte, NC, the beautiful city that I call home, these boys play grunge-influenced, fuzz-infested punk that, plain and simple, you are gonna love. With the energy of Black Flag, the melody of Husker Du, and--at times--the self-destructive abrasion of Nirvana, these Charlotte boys mix genres seamlessly, providing a beautiful, unique breath of fresh air. Also, it kicks ass.

Right off the bat, the album kicks in with the blistering, headbanging "Reality," with riffs a la late Black Flag and leads into a beautiful verse that features haunting vocals, shredding guitar, and moodiness that is only matched by Nirvana's "In Utero" album. This track is followed by the fuzz-soaked, anxious "Precious Moments" that, even at its most aggressive, is headbobbingly catchy.

"Sunglasses" brings a turn in mood, with extremely catchy punk flavorings that are all too wonderfully reminiscent of The Descendents, with defiant lyrics such as, "I wear sunglasses to block out your shit." This song and "White Lines" are upbeat as hell musically, but lyrically brooding and haunting. "White Lines" is definitely the more aggressive of the two, even featuring shout-a-longs, and Black Flag-style leads that will put a smile on the face of the staunchest punk fan.

Then enters "Wherever," a slower, somber jam clocking in at just over 4 minutes, with free-range drums and frail, masturbatory vocals that make for a drowsy, slow-motion-high banger of a track that's just anxious enough to make the listener unsettled, but just jammy enough to keep the listener relaxed.

Then we're graced with the presence of "Tooth Decay," and holy shit: gimme gimme gimme. The groovy drums at the beginning initiate a sweet little head bob, and the grainy guitars just add to the music coma, sweetened by the syrupy chorus--a drunk-as-hell, tenor-pitch "ooh ooh ooh," followed by the slowest, raddest guitar solo, while the bass thumps along underneath all of it, like the designated driver on a night out. As the chorus involves into "wahh wawh wawh"s and then into "yeah yah yah"s, the lead plays on, ending the song with feedback for a perfect combination. I am smiling like an idiot, just listening to this. Killer.

"Wearing Thin" and "Disappear" give us two of the fuzzier, more garage rock-influenced tracks on the album, with kick ass drums, and the uber-distorted, lo-fi guitar and bass--all led by the beautifully frail vocals that have permeated the length of the album, and are harmonized perfectly on these tracks. Combined with the fun lead guitar, and the "you're gonna dig this" attitude, these tracks jam through, back-to-back and lead us into "Sparrows."

"Sparrows" is one of my favorites on the album, with the rumbling bass, the jazz chords, and the Dinosaur Jr.-esque scaling guitars. Another armor-strong point of greatness on this track being the the jammy vocals that yell unashamedly, "I fucked up, and I'll fuck up again. Everybody makes mistakes, and I made most of them." Such an incredibly kick ass song.

"Homebodies" is the closer to this perfect album, and is genuinely one of the most enjoyable songs I've listened to in the last few years. Exploring every crevice of their repertoire, Late Bloomer gives us a sampling of all the best parts of this album--this song clocks in at JUST under 6 minutes, but not a single second of it is filler. With both the vocals and instruments on this album doing whatever the hell they please, these boys yank out all the stops, ending on the haunting, joint-spoken ending of "they find friends like me and you," while the drums kick and speed up, and the guitar frantically taps notes--stopping to give orchestrated--before finally ending abruptly with a snare hit and bass thump to finalize the album.

This album is the most original, creative, grin-inducing piece of art (and I don't use the term "Art" freely) that I've heard all year. I've listened to this album on repeat 4 times while I've been writing this, and I haven't skipped one second. I can't explain how good this is, so just listen to it yourself. I swear to God, you'll regret it if you don't. This may be the only 5 stars I give for a long, long while, because this band has ruined my palate. Incredible.