The Wayouts – Better Days CD (Harmless, 1998): Emo can be really bad and there was a lot of it in the 90’s. But, if you look hard enough, there was a lot of really cool stuff going on. One of my favorite examples of such is Chicago’s very own The Wayouts. Starting off as a kind of weird pop punk band (at one point they had two bassists), they developed into one of the most solid emo/pop punk bands around. This, their first and only full length on Harmless Records (a label synonymous with both quality and the 90’s), is where they really honed their sound.
In eight tracks, The Wayouts manage to build a cohesive, but varied record. There are longer, more low-key tracks such as the gut-wrenching Oceans Overflowed, straight up hook-laden rippers like the eponymous opening track, and everything in between. The vocals are clean but emotionally heavy and the melodies are really catchy. This thing is essentially perfect. It’s got some of the band’s best stuff on it, though luckily they recorded one more 7″ single in the same vein before calling it quits. I’ll put that up later, but for now, enjoy Better Days.