Ladies and Gentlemen, I regret to inform you that on, February 8th, 2005. Toby David of the electric Ace Troubleshooter announced the death of the band. It seems that front man John Warne has left his creation to join brother band Relient K as a bassist. Christian pop-punk fans have stated their disappointment in the matter. Some fans plead on the message forum to replace John with pop-punk semi-great Tom Delonge, because as you know Blink 182 also have announced their indefinite hiatus around the same time. Other fans urge to just leave the dead to rest, that no one could replace the founder of the band.
Ace Troubleshooter, also known as Ace to loyal fans, have been banded together since 1996 and have been rocking concerts and stealing hearts since. The original line up of the band was John Warne as lead vocals and guitar, Josh Abott on drums, Cody Oaks on bass, and Isaac Deaton as backing vocals and guitar. This line up was in tact with two independent releases, "Back in the Shootin' Match" in 1996 and "Don't Stop Rockin’'" in 1999, also with self-titled album under Tooth & Nail's sublabel BEC records in 2000. Shortly after this in 2001 Cody Oaks left Ace and was replaced by Ben Dewey to work on "The Madness of the Crowds" in 2002, released under major Christian record label Tooth & Nail records. Dave Douglass from Relient K also joined the band in 2001 as backing vocals and guitarist. In 2003 Ben Dewey and Isaac Deaton left the band, replaced by Toby David as guitar and Joe Krube on bass and backing vocals. They released their final record "It's Never Enough" under Tooth & Nail records in 2004.
Today we will be focusing on their first major release for a label, Ace Troubleshooter. It was the last album the band had performed as its original members and in my opinion their best work. As noted in the forum posted about the death of Ace by former bassist Toby David "You can't imagine how great it feels to be on stage in front of you, and hearing you all scream out the ‘AW YEAH’ in ‘SE #101.’" This is the kinda song that wraps itself into the core of your being and forces you to participate, it is that catchy. The lyrics of this album are mostly dealing with struggles of Christian living. Such as the struggle of instant gratification in opening track "SE #101,” or dealing with 'biblical' love like in "1 Corinthians 13," (the love chapter).
Ace Troubleshooter is more than uplifting lyrics and catchy riffs and bass lines, they are also John Warne's vocals. Though he is no Frank Sinatra, Warne holds his own for the genre of pop punk. Having a clear crisp voice throughout the album. His voice is most likely to standout in tracks "Tonight" and "Yesterday." His voice sounds extremely similar to vocalist Mike Herrera of MxPx, and to Ryan Kepke of Slick Shoes. Not only do the vocals sound similar, the music also shares extremely close similarities. Most of the opening riffs for each of these bands could easily be mistaken for another. If you are not into the Christian pop-punk scene as I'm sure most of you are not, Ace sounds kind of like an extremely cleaned up and polished version of bands like Unwritten Law, Blink 182, early Green Day before the eye liner, Mest, New Found Glory, and Good Charlotte.
Some positive things from this album are that every single song seems to have a certain degree of energy, and for their genre of Christian pop-punk, they are relatively good. Tracks "SE #101," "Denise," "Tonight," "Don't Trust That Girl," and "Yesterday" are fantastic songs and really bring this album to life. This album doesn't have any filler tracks and does not get old after the first two listens. I have played the CD right around 7 times while writing this review and I'm up for an 8th.
Some cons of the album are that they have little variation from track to track and sound way too similar to other christian pop punk bands such as Relient K, Slick Shoes, and MxPx and do not sound original. If you are a non-christian and you appreciate lyrics then this CD may not be for you, being there are only 2 songs on the album that are not dealing with something Christian.
I would recommend "Denise" track number 2 for those of you who don't want to be bible thumped.
Final Rating 4 out of 5