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Alternative/Punk

The Starting Line

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We've all heard the story before. It starts with a young band who has just released their debut album on a relatively new indie label. After a few months, that album becomes an unexpected hit...

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We've all heard the story before. It starts with a young band who has just released their debut album on a relatively new indie label. After a few months, that album becomes an unexpected hit thanks in large part to countless miles logged in a crummy tourvan, and a whole lot of word-of-mouth publicity. This then causes the band to sign to a bigger label and, for the next year, they slave over their second record, only to watch the major that they signed to during their ascent, totally blow it when the album is released a few months later. For most music fans, this is well-covered territory and, by now, they are no doubt aware of what happens next. Usually, after their new corporate handlers fumble the record, said band is further neglected, and either breaks up or disappears completely. Sure, they might get back together for an episode of Behind The Music, but for the most part, that's where this particular story comes to its tragic, but typical end. Thankfully, modern rockers the Starting Line have learned that it doesn't always have to turn out this way. Following the lead of one their musical heroes, Jimmy Eat World, the suburban Pennsylvania quartet have survived such a music industry foul up to record Direction, the most triumphant album of their career. "This new record is definitely something we are all very proud of," says bassist and lead singer Kenny Vasoli, who originally formed the Starting Line, along with guitarists Matt Watts, Mike Golla, and drummer Tom Gryskewicz, some eight years ago. "Just the thought of what could happen with this is making us really excited. We really hope that it can reach all sorts of new people." That distinct approach can be heard throughout Direction, whether it's in the wistful power-pop of "I Could Be Wrong" or the strutting hard rock on the album's title track. Just as they did for a few tracks on Based On A True Story, the Starting Line decamped to Los Angeles to record the album with Howard Benson, a Grammy nominated producer who's worked with everyone from My Chemical Romance to the All-American Rejects. Just like their logical forefathers in Jimmy Eat World, the members of the Starting Line seem ready to put the situation with their former label aside and release an album that will break them to a larger audience. And they seem prepared to do so, with a bright new outlook in tact. "Over the past two years, we've been through a lot," Watts says, looking back. "But I think that this album is what made it worth it, and I think you can hear in these songs. We're embracing the positive things we have been through, as well." So then, tell the people at Behind The Music to find another band. Because at the moment, the Starting Line have nothing but a bright future ahead of them.