Nobody likes labels, especially when they get stuck with one that they can't shake, like "emo." For what it's worth, it's short for "emotion" and is generically applied to bands that came out of the U.S. hardcore punk scene but slowed down their tempo to sing about their feelings. Milwaukee's The Promise Ring, for better or worse, are the current emo poster children.
Most of the band's early material was plagued with dodgy recording quality. With the 1997 album "Nothing Feels Good," critics could finally get what the fans had known all along: Cleverly arranged power chords and a less-than-linear look at everyday life could still be enthralling.
'Very Emergency" starts with all the same ingredients, but the band's former fear of pop sensibilities has changed along with the sweetness of the hooks (now pure sugar). The songs fit more in the power-pop tradition, upbeat and radio-friendly. The Promise Ring still isn't satisfied, but is still promising and worth a listen.