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A big comedown from the excellence of what came before, but not bad overall
on 28 March 2010
I adore the first album Bang Bang Rock & Roll. It was one of those rare albums that just completely satisfies to such an extent that you don't even want to hear anything else by the band as you know it will only disappoint. White Stripes' White Blood Cells and Tegan and Sara's If It Was You were similar albums. Nothing else they have recorded means anything to me.
So going in I knew this was never going to do it for me. And I was right. It's dwarfed, lost in the shadow, of the superior Bang Bang Rock & Roll. Having said that, it's not a bad album. It starts okay, dips badly in the middle but ends on a run of good songs.
The biggest disappointment is that the lyrics aren't as good. On the first album they are detailed with geeky autobiographical information or fantasies. These lyrics are a bit more generic, less unique and funny.
Also the music is less ragged and has a hint of glam rock in the earlier songs. That is not to say the songs are polished.
1. "Pump Up the Volume" - 2:56 (3 out of 5 stars)
Solid but unremarkable. His voice is swamped by the music. I think it's a poor choice to open the album with.
2. "Direct Hit" - 3:34 (3 stars)
It's okay but I feel it could have been so much more. Has an energetic ending.
3. "St Pauli" - 2:58 (3 stars)
4. "People in Love" - 3:04 (3 stars)
Decent enough song. Lyrically stronger than the previous tracks, but still not as good as I hoped for.
5. "Late Sunday Evening" - 3:11 (3 stars)
The lyrics seem a bit random. Feels like filler that's not got a real subject, or point, at the heart of it. It's saved by the band's standard sound being so good and being up-tempo.
6. "I Will Survive" - 3:31 (2 stars)
Something about this song seems pointless. It sounds like something that should have stayed in the vaults as a failed song. It's not so much bad as just aimless with weak lyrics about nothing much and generic music to go with it.
7. "Post Soothing Out" - 3:15 (2 stars)
Again a feeling of a song that's been written and recorded for the sake of it. A decent enough sounding song but pointless.
8. "Blame It on the Trains" - 3:01 (3 stars)
This is more like it. Lyrics are good and has some good instrumental passages. Not great but solid enough to satisfy.
9. "Sound of Summer" - 2:48 (4 stars)
This could have been on the first album with the geeky subject matter about making mix tapes. Also musically stronger than anything else on the album. This is probably the best song.
10. "Nag Nag Nag Nag" - 3:10 (4 stars)
Sounds like a continuation of the previous track. Also it's the heaviest song.
11. "Jealous Guy" - 3:18 (3 stars)
An okay song about him trying to wake his girlfriend in order to get more than just a goodnight kiss.
I like to make an EP playlist out of some albums for my iPod. Tracks 2, 9, 10 and 11 made the cut.
I think overall it's a decent but unremarkable 34 minute album. Could have been worse, but could have been so much better.