Mt. Pocono Credit: Adrian Medriano

Elgin punk band Mt. Pocono aren’t reinventing the wheel—they just want to make sure that when theirs rolls, it does it with a brilliant burst of new energy. The four-piece seem to subsist on a steady diet of emo, power pop, and shoegaze—at least that’s the impression I get from the burly tunes on their latest self-released EP, July’s Fear of the Savanna, Terror of the Suburbs. Bruised but gilded guitars heave the band’s gnashing, bellicose melodies through hard-fought climaxes and not-quite-quiet lulls, turning songs about twentysomething romantic despair and socioeconomic insecurity into paradoxically triumphant anthems. And on the dreamy ballad “Rot,” Mt. Pocono nail the kind of earnest uplift that helps keep punk rock a vital art form.   v