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The band showed notable musical growth on their 1998 album Twisted by Design, which was both speedy and technical but also with darker overtones. The album established a mixture of the fast, poppy sound the band had established with Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues but mixed it with more atonality and more abstract song structures. Bassist Jim Cherry left the band in 1999 and went on to play in Pulley and Zero Down, but died of heart failure in 2002. He was replaced by Chris Aiken, whose musical background had a strong impact on the 2000 album The Element of Sonic Defiance.
In 2002 the band released their fourth full-length album An American Paradox, their first release to appear in the Billboard Top 200. The initial production run contained a bonus song entitled "Don't Look Back". A video was filmed for the song "Cemetery" and was included on several punk rock video compilations. In 2003 they recorded and released a live album as part of the Fat Wreck Chords Live in a Dive series. Exile in Oblivion, was released in 2004, with a video filmed for the song "Analog." Strung Out recently finished recording their sixth full-length album, Blackhawks Over Los Angeles, which was released June 12, 2007.
When they are not touring or making music, Jason Cruz enjoys life as an artist, Jordan is a co-owner of Moto XXX along with NOFX drummer Erik Sandin. Rob Ramos works in the film industry, and Jake gives occasional musical lessons.