Contrary to popular belief, there's a real art to getting this emo shit right. It's not simply a question of bleating faux-sensitivity over distortion not quite intrusive enough to be classified as aggressive. You've got to make people believe you but not pity you, be specific but not alienating and still retain the sense to wrap up your feelings in a good melody.

Boston's Mallcops have done that on their debut EP, The Funniest Joke You've Ever Told, and no more successfully than on 'Muffled Little Eulogies.' The song draws more from American indie than modern emo, building on opening piano and clean guitar to a climax that points more to resignation than catharsis.

There's shame, depression and anger to be found in the lyrics, as expected, but also a huge amount of thought and care given to narrative and structure.. It's got both direction and focus, and I can't tell you how welcome that is.