Love them or hate them, Rufio’s brand of Southern California pop-punk is equal parts melody and slick guitar noodling. A majority of their appeal lies heavily on singer Scott Sellers’ ability to convincingly sing about a myriad of topics whether it’s the fickle scene or girls who’ve crushed him. There’s absolutely no reason why Rufio hasn’t hit the New Found Glory-level of popularity, aside from their ambition.

 

Following a brief hiatus, Rufio returns to The Militia Group (their last two records were on Nitro) with Anybody Out There, an album that’s more attuned to the pop-punk aspect of their second album, 1985, than the technical panache of The Comfort of Home.

Heavy on hooks, call-and-response parts and gang vocals, songs like “Drunk in Love,” “The Loneliest,” and “Anybody Out There” find Rufio resting comfortably in a world of Four Year Strongs, Motion City Soundtracks and Set Your Goals — pop bands with an edge that have prospered in a genre that have all gone on without the presence of Rufio. These slight shifts in Rufio’s sound, albeit minimalist, aren’t without compromise. The metal riffs that put the band alongside like-minded bands like Thrice aren’t really present, which makes a record like Anybody Out There just another radio-ready album.

Still, there’s much to enjoy about Rufio: Sellers can still carry a song on his vocals alone and while Clark Domae’s guitar parts, though at times understated, help the songs that they are featured on (“Little World,” for example) shine bright on this album. While this is not the Rufio that you may have heard back in high school, they’re still pretty rockin’.

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