Sometimes things get hectic…going on a year and a half now. As a result, albums won’t get reviewed that really should get some attention. So here are some mini reviews to catch up on some recent releases you should be playing.
The following reviews, by Nathaniel Lay
THE USED – Vulnerable
The last Used record, Artwork, was a darker and more atmospheric side of the band. It completely brought the band back from the disappointment of Lies For The Liars, while also making a unique placing for itself in the discography. Vulnerable, however, returns to a mixture of the older formulas. Like a cross between Lies For The Liars and In Love And Death, this new collection is faster and leans more on the screamo elements the band used to be built upon. The album may take some warming up to for those who disliked the Lies record, but Vulnerable does manage to win you over. There are some problems, but for the most part, this is another great record from The Used.
>> Recommended Tracks: “I Come Alive”, “This Fire”, “Now That You’re Dead”, “Give Me Love”
THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS – Kids In The Street
A lot of comments about this album have said that the band displays a more grown up sound on this record. I’m not really sure why this is being said; Kids in the Street sounds like the other releases to me. The All-American Rejects have always done a mix of fast and catchy rock anthems, with slower and more melodic tracks. That is their style and it works great. Kids in the Street does this formula again, which is definitely not a problem. The first half is the most catchy and memorable material, while the second half is a lot slower and more relaxed. There’s a lot of great moments on Kids in the Street, making it highly recommended.
>> Recommended Tracks: “Someday’s Gone”, “Beekeeper’s Daughter”, “Fast And Slow”, “Heartbeat Slowing Down”
SHINEDOWN – Amaryllis
Fans of hard rock/alternative already know of Shinedown, and have for years. Their new album, Amaryllis, is actually the first I’ve played all the way through (in the past, I would just hear their singles), and it is awesome. It starts strong and stays strong throughout. The tracks are a mix of heavier moments, slower material, and the in between. This creates a nice balance that helps carry the album from start to finish with ease. Songs like “Bully” and “Nowhere Kids” really get your fists pumping, but this album as a whole is just a great addition to any rock fan’s collection.
>> Recommended Tracks: “Adrenaline”. “Bully”, “Nowhere Kids”, “My Name (Wearing Me Out)”
SHARKS – No Gods
The last album from Sharks showed promise, but also had a “mixed” sound as a whole work. This caused it to feel unbalanced and less appealing when played from start to finish (instead of just hand picking favorite tracks). However, No Gods is a big improvement, and feels consistent throughout. The band’s brand of punk has a strong classic rock appeal to it, which is great. The songs get your attention easily, and keeps it. The beats are steady and enjoyable, while the overall enjoyment factor of the album is high in replay value.
>> Recommended Tracks: “Arcane Effigies”, “Able Moving Hearts”, “On A Clear Day, You Can See Yourself”
EVERY TIME I DIE – Ex Lives
While New Junk Aesthetic was a good album, I personally felt it lacked in comparison to other awesome albums from ETID. Luckily, the band has returned stronger than ever with possibly their best record yet. Ex Lives is an intense ride that is thoroughly satisfying. Over the last two months, I’ve played this album countless times. Sometimes, the CD got several complete spins in one sitting. What really helps make this record so good is the band’s decision to “branch out” a bit (mostly found during the middle of the album). While “Revival Mode” is easily the best track here, Ex Lives is full of awesome moments worth hearing again and again.
>> Recommended Tracks: “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space”, “Typical Miracle”, “Revival Mode”
CHEAP GIRLS – Giant Orange
Cheap Girls have a “chill” punk/alternative/rock style to them that is relaxing and enjoyable. It rarely gets you energized, but it’s also not a “slow” album by any means. It has that “in between” pacing to it, which is possibly a big reason that the album is easy to get into. It’s catchy and memorable without getting you up and jumping, and tends to keep your head bobbing. It doesn’t quite do enough to get you replaying the record over and over (mostly because some of the tracks kind of blend together from similarities), but it is worth some spins for sure.
>> Recommended Tracks: “Gone All Summer”, “Ruby”, “Cored To Empty”