REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/14/2007
Thank goodness that what comes next is brilliant. Point 1 is a sophisticated band that takes control of its material. There's a mastery in the vocal delivery, in the drum fills, in the interesting guitar riffs that change as appropriate and in the lyrics. It's the total package of rock-n-roll, and it is inspiring.
The title track features an amazing offbeat guitar riff that vocalist Lenny Hotrum uses as his canvas. He is confrontational when he sings "Who are you trying to impress?" and his delivery changes with the flexibility of the guitar. "Oxygen" is a more thoughtful track with Hotrum confessing "You've given me new insight / you make me feel like I'm alive / You've given me new insight / and when I'm lost and out of place / you're my oxygen." Drummer Chase Culp is ferocious on this song with a lot of interesting colors.
Hotrum's emotions are spent on "Oxygen" because "Monochrome Mistress" is a fast sex romp that is pretty bad. Hotrum sings "She spins a tangled web / beneath the devil's wings / she'll tie your noose / with your heartstrings." If it weren't for the interlude of guitarist Keith Wright, this song would be a disaster.
"Crime" is a slight dip on this release; the ballad-ish slow track that Hotrum uses as his platform for dripping emotion is not nearly as impressive as his aggressive delivery on "Best Part of Me," a return to form. The object of Hotrum's lyrics is described as "You are still the best part of me." The track is also a slower expedition and drummer Culp keeps things steady and interesting while Hotrum ponders the question "If I said sorry, would that be good enough?" and later confesses outright "I am a fool, I am a sucker / when it comes to your embrace."
"Running Away," "Bodies for Freedom" and "Pain That I am Used To" complete this release on a strong note. "Bodies for Freedom" is an excursion into heavy metal that is impressive. Culp drives the song and Hotrum makes things a little less serious with his "na-na na"s during the chorus.
It's a perfect example of the way this band has control of their material. They have the courage to experiment and those experiments, while perhaps calculated, are still very successful.