Sounds like … an amalgamation of punk and modern rock reminiscent of Saves the Day, Foo Fighters, Panic! At the Disco and The ClashAt a glance … thanks to smart lyrics, energetic pacing, and a slew of surprise elements, Children 18:3 actually makes punk rock interesting againTrack Listing All My Balloons LCM You Know We're All So Fond on Dying Search Warrant Even Sleeping Ditches The City Homemade Valentine Samantha Mock the Music A Chance to Say Goodbye Time and Wasted Bullets Balloons Reprise Final

A book shouldn't be judged by its cover, but sometimes it's just human nature—especially for album covers. And given this self-titled effort from Children 18:3, with the punk band's decidedly lo-fi imaging bordering on self-parody, I fully expected it to be silly and gimmicky. Besides, the three members are home-schooled siblings from Minnesota, which is about as punk rock as shopping at Hot Topic. I quickly realized I couldn't have been more wrong once I popped this disc in.

Punk rock has become stale as of late, thanks to all the Blink 182 sound-alikes—a far cry from the good ole days of The Clash and The Ramones. But Children 18:3 forges a new path for the genre, one filled with enough frenetic twists, turns, and attitude to keep listeners engaged for the long haul. Oh and there's hope, too, which isn't exactly a typical theme for punk rock in the lyrics.

From the opening guitar lick of "All My Balloons," a bold rallying cry against spiritual complacency, you can't help but be captivated by the unorthodox vocal play between Dave and his sister Lee Marie (who sounds like the punkier equivalent of Gwen Stefani). But they also prove that there's more to a song than great vocals, with a purely catchy chorus and rough-around-the-edges production that's still polished enough to be palatable—all enough to make a believer out of the most skeptical punk listener.

Best of all, these traits ring true for the remainder of the album. From the rowdy call to be salt and light in "The City," to the stripped-down strains of "Samantha," and "Final," where the band contemplates how far its willing to go for its faith, Children 18:3 knows how to captivate core rock fans, while providing a strong spiritual foundation in the process. Now that's something sure to defy a few people's expectations.

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