Posted by: Andy | July 4, 2008

2 new CDs: AT3 & LTJ

Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony

Man was I looking forward to this one.

That sentence should give away my general impression: not worth waiting for (although this guy seems to love it).

It’s hard to explain what I don’t like…ok it’s not that I actually dislike any part of it; it’s just like there’s not as much here for me actually like. It’s kinda like it’s “pussied” down a bit, if that makes any sense.  Everything seems a little bit lighter and fluffier.  Sure the lyrics are still the same kind of over-the-top-emo-melodrama that we’ve come to know and love them for…but something’s missing.

Maybe if I were a real music critic I could tell you what, but I can’t.  What I can say is that I’ve liked everything else I’ve heard of theirs to date (and I’ve got some of the semi-obscure splits too) much more than this album.  Maybe it will grow on me.

Score: 3/5

Less Than Jake – GNV FLA

I have a feeling that reviewers just like extremes.  Something is either great, or it sucks.  OK, I couldn’t actually find any reviews saying it sucks, so that’s a good thing.  They all seem to be at least B-ish.  And in general, people seem to like this better than their last album, which I find interesting.

True, the influence of record execs seemed pretty visible to me on the last album, at least in the sense that there were almost no horns on the whole album….that pissed me off.  But the songs in general were really strong song-along-stuck-in-your-head pop-punk-(ska).  You can imagine how they’d sound live with the ska re-injected (even better, right?).

People are saying this goes back to their Pezcore-roots-early sound and I guess…but I their old stuff had a lot more energy and frenzy to it.  I really think people just say that shit because they have nothing better to say.

Also, I’d be hard pressed to say the old stuff was really better than the stuff that followed…all of it was so strong.  But this is just listener variance of course..I find it interesting that Allmusic has my favorite album (Hello Rockview) rated at 3 stars – less than Anthem (4)  & tied with In With the Out Crowd (3) – the album I think is their weakest (but still stronger than the new one).

For a REAL laugh, check out this “review” for Losing Streak which they have rated at 4.5 stars:

Less Than Jake’s major-label debut, Losing Streak, is a reasonably engaging collection of frenzied, party-ready metallic ska-punk, but the group doesn’t offer enough personality or hooky songs to distinguish themselves from their contemporaries.

HUH?  That’s a 4.5 star review?  Ok, man I’d hate to see a five star: “This album is almost listenable.”….but seriously, I’ve read lots of Erlewine’s reviews, and that one does not match 4.5 stars.  So, while I think the album is definitely at least a 4-starrer, there’s obviously something amuck with allmusic’s commentary.  Which is not surprising.

Mmmm…looking at all their LTJ reviews, I think a lot of them were done much more recently, which really depletes any “value” they may have had as “reviews”.  It’s just commentary.  Or “info”, or something, but they’re not real reviews.

Anyway..it’s decent, better than the previous album, but not the return to greatness that I hoped for (greatness really being any stop along the way before In with the Out Crowd), and nothing really stands out.

Score: 3/5

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