Oftentimes, singer-songwriter types are unfairly branded as wimps and wussies, especially when their music de-emphasizes edge in favor of emo. Fortunately, Pete Yornhas managed to find a happy medium. His third studio album, Nightcrawler, marks a quantum leap forward in terms of both urgency and impact, a creative advance that sweeps him from the ranks of the also-rans to that of an artist with a distinctive voice all his own. That's no small accomplishment, but Nightcrawler shows that even in the relative infancy of his career, Yorn's become a master at nailing surging refrains that often boost his melodies to anthemic proportions. It takes a single listen to bear out this conclusion, and while his faithful cover of Warren Zevon's "Splendid Isolation" is arguably the set's best song, it's surrounded by solid offerings of Yorn's own invention. If a great artist is defined by the quality of his material, then Yorn's pedigree is ample indeed.