Knuckle Puck

Shapeshifter

ROCKS LIKE: Seaway, New Found Glory, the Wonder Years

WHAT'S DIFFERENT: Chicago’s Knuckle Puck were poised to lead this generation of pop-punkers before their debut, 2015’s Copacetic, even dropped. And leading they are, this time with a heaping dose of maturity (the somber opener “Nervous Passenger”) and songs that flirt with a new shot of Braid-style, almost-tech emo (“Twist”), with much success. “Wait” is the band’s finest moment yet as songwriters.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Yes, we said “maturity,” but it’s not hokey, forced, boring or dad-rock. It’s songs like “Conduit,” which slow down the pace to add melodies and a ’90’s Midwestern emo twang that make Knuckle Puck sound wise beyond their young years. An impressive and diverse follow-up to an already-impressive debut, but where do they go from here? Wherever it is, it’ll be worth going along for the ride.

OUR PICK: “Wait”

Rise Records http://www.riserecords.com