After releasing “Truth Is Currency” in 2005 and “Light It Up” in 2008. I really had high expectations for this band. Those albums were on constant rotation in my CD changer.
So, here we are in 2011 with “Justice”. Using their hit single “Hell Yeah” as a comparison. That song was a fist pumping, air-guitar playing, certifiable hit. You could hum it at work, sing the lyrics in the tub, whatever. It worked, as did a lot of their previous work. It stood out, it was memorable. You knew it was a hit single the first time you listened to it. More importantly, you knew right away who the band was!
I find none of that on the new album. Nothing stands out, as a single or otherwise. Maybe a change of producer was the one thing the band did not need. Maybe this album was rushed, who knows.
The first single “Justice” does not do its job effectively. That is, to get you interested in buying the album in the first place. It blends in so well with a hundred other generic radio-rock bands, that you’d be hard pressed to even name this band if you heard it on the radio. If lead singer Rich Luzzi was having a good time singing on previous recordings, he now sounds like he’s being forced to sing at gun point by a label exec. The album only shifts gear into something memorable 9 tracks in. Things slow down a bit with “Say Goodbye”. Can I hum this? Yes indeed. Can I remember the lyrics? Somewhat. It almost sounds like Rev of old. Will I remember this song a year from now? Probably not!
Generally, albums start off strong, and get progressively weaker towards the end. Kudos to the band for doing the complete opposite. The stronger tracks are towards the end of the album. Listening to “Never Again”, is so 2008, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately a case of too little, too late.
The light really begins to shine again for these guys on the final track. 11 songs in, and what I enjoyed about this band finally rises to the top. (Or sinks to the bottom, depending how you look at it.) “Hollow Man” is a great, melodic acoustic song usually reserved for “bonus tracks” or Special Editions.
Hopefully, this band will start the next album, the same way they ended this one. Giving us some songs that will be remembered, lyrics you’ll want to sing along to, and a reason to air-guitar in the car on the way to work. The things you loved about the band in the first place.