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On Mala Leche, Montreal, Canada's Chino strengthens and refreshes the classic rock formula with the tasteful addition of mandolin and organ, two often-misused instruments that serve the perfect purpose here: they make the songs sound better. This is music from the AM dial, the songs you hear driving down a country highway at two in the morning after seeing a great show with your best friends.

Despite the rock extravagance, there is an undercurrent of sadness beneath the ebullient music. "Misbehavin'" has the insistent beat and sharp hook of a great rock party song, but the lyrics betray a loneliness and disappointment that belie the cheerful music. "When You're Not Around" is a pogo-inducing anthem, all ripping guitar and harmonious chorus, although you get the impression that the singer might not get the girl after all of his grand professions.

Fans of straight ahead, no-nonsense rock and roll bands like The Replacements, Soul Asylum (back in the day), and Hüsker Dü will love Chino's smart songwriting and rambunctious melodies.

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