In what is quickly turning into another banner year for punk rock albums, Philadelphia's Dark Thoughts have possibly delivered the best of the lot so far. The band's self-titled LP is pretty close to flawless - proof that it is possible to play Ramones inspired punk rock that doesn't sound like all the other Ramones inspired punk rock that's out there. I can't quite put my finger on what makes this band so different from countless like-minded acts. All I know is that I was totally hooked within the first 15 seconds of the album, and I had a smile on my face the whole way to the end. This band just has it, ya know? With 10 of 12 tracks coming in under two minutes and the band making minimal use of chords, you could easily be misled into thinking you've heard this album thousands of times before. But actually, you haven't. Dark Thoughts, while wearing a Ramones influence like a badge of honor, find a way to put a great deal of themselves into the formula. They take a familiar style of music and genuinely pump new life into it! A lot of it comes down to really strong vocals and flat-out fantastic songs. I would recommend this release not just to Ramones fans but to anyone who's into more recent garage/punk/powerpop stuff like Marked Men and The Hex Dispensers. What a great freaking record!