A long time fan of No Doubt, but not that keen on Rock Steady (never play it) I am really pleased with this album. There is a return to reggae via interludes in a fair few of the songs and once again some slow, funky bass lines (inclusing probably the best bass 'riff' that I've ever heard, in the it's title track). These are bass lines which have far more feel to them than the ones used throughout Rock Steady. As the album passes the half way point it seems to become more influenced by Gwen's solo stuff, but the better solo stuff rather than any of the cheesey hairbrushmic songs that she did. There is a slight electric ska feel here and there, hence the front cover I guess. More synth than an 80's wedding, but its so well produced with original sounds that it really works. In fact production-wise it is probably one of the best albums I own. Most importantly, tho, her voice is more expressive again, albeit enhanced with some kind of resonance effect for much of the album. Think Return of Saturn in an angry mood and even the odd wail and gasp which made Tragic Kingdom one of my top fav albums and infact, if you listen carefully you can hear a return to the odd syncopated guitar strumming that gave TK it's pace and energy. This would have deserved five stars if they hadn't clearly been trying to appease Gwen's recently won fans in teh later half of the album, but hey I think they've earned that right!
Well done No Doubt, and thank you!