There is a lot of hype around this fucking album. Depending on where you frequent, most of it is bad. The more vocal people at Punknews are bashing the shit out of it. But, how does it really stand up?
Well, if you really love old AM! stuff, you will probably not like this much. It does not have the same feeling to it as Reinventing Axl Rose or As The Eternal Cowboy had. I will, however, say that I think this album is better than Searching For A Former Clarity and New Wave.
My biggest issue with this record is that the lyrics are overly repetitive. The song “White Crosses” felt overly long due to this issue. “I Was A Teenage Anarchist” also suffers a little from this problem as well. But, that song being the lead single makes total sense. It is a great song. Is it repetitive? Well, yeah. But, it does not suffer as a result of it. The message it is trying to get across is clear. And, man, that shit will probably go over live like a motherfucker.
There is a less “punk” vibe to this album. It feels more like power pop, or Replacements influence alternative. It is still an album meant to challenge the listener. So many “punks” are going to sleep on this record. But, I almost feel like that was the point. It seems like the band finally decided to do what they wanted, and fuck the people who are going to hate it.
As far as filler, this records has it. “Spanish Moss” kind of dragged ass. “Ache With Me” is a generally alright song. But, as Jelone over at Punknews called them, the “chickuh-ah” vocal sound was fucking odd. It did kind of ruin the song. I kept waiting for Tom Gabel to pull out a Rod Argent and ask “what’s your name? who’s your daddy?” (as a side note, The Zombies were a fantastic band, but that fucking line always sounded kind of douchey to me. I wonder if it sounded as bad in 1968).
Minor gripes aside, this record is average. Nothing stands out as being totally fucking awesome. But, nothing stands out as being really fucking horrible. There are some missteps, but they are not too noticeable. In the end, i will give this album 3 stars out of 5. An average score for an average album. However, if this album is a sign of things to come for the band, I will look forward to it.