Don't Tread On Me


Volcano, 2005

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


One would think a band that had little to offer in the first place would have given up a while ago, but the three new songs on 311's 2003 hits collection must have inspired the quintet from Nebraska to head back into the studio to record another full-length.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

It's hard to know who the audience will be for this one; the 90s ska/mall punk revival died before well before this disc, fans of 311 have presumably moved on, and newcomers won't be bowled over by what's on display here. The best of the music is simply the 311 sound updated and matured for the new century.

Gone are the embarrassing white-boy raps and the haphazard songwriting, replaced now by full songs with vocal harmonies and a lack of pop appeal that pervaded such classic as "Flowing," "All Mixed Up" and even detours such as "I'll Be Here Awhile." The music is still fun but hardly modern and not likely to be stuck in your head after listening, the way the best 311 songs can be.

The title track is blatant ska/rock from 1995 but grooves nicely, while "Frolic Room" takes the sound of bands like American Hi-Fi and adds a somewhat downbeat chorus and vocal harmonies, a latent trademark of the band not fully explored until now. "Solar Flare" is a non-offensive stab at a Rage Against the Machine-type song, while "Waiting" is a fun little ska-ish ditty and "It's Getting OK Now" rocks fairly hard, for these guys. Nothing essential, but all sounding good while it plays.

"Getting Through To Her" and "Whiskey & Wine" are the best songs here, pleasant beach tunes of the kind that sound great at sunset, drinking Cabernet and sitting in an Adirondack chair with the woman you love. These two tunes suggest that there is gas in the 311 tank yet; would that the road map led elsewhere in the future. Maturity came with a price for 311; only fans need check this out, unless you're really into the whole ska/skate rock/American Hi-Fi thing.


Rating: C

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2007 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Volcano, and is used for informational purposes only.