Review Summary: Imagine sitting in the driving seat of a car on autopilot, driving through some beautiful scenery. yes, the surroundings look nice, you're pretty comfortable, but there's nothing better than grabbing the wheel and feeling the road for yourself.
Now just imagine that statement, sans grabbing of the wheel, and you've got a pretty good picture of what this album is like.
The Feel Good Record of the Year?
I don’t think so. It’s good, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s not going to make the top of any critical lists this year, let alone the feel good list. The record has some excellent tracks, the punkier numbers the biggest punchers, such as ‘Biggest Lie’
and ‘I Want to be Wrong’
, incidentally the opening one-two. Both the good thing and the problem about this record is that it stays too close to home; it sounds like a random selection of old No Use For A Name songs, with new names, new lyrics, and (occasionally) new tunes.
High production values improve the record, leaving it sounding as slick and clean as the singer’s voice. Speaking of which, Tony Sly delivers with melody, in harmony with the tuneful sound. NUFAN are a cleaner cut punk band than many, with less of a juggernaut smash to them that the likes of Rancid, The Casualties and others possess, but with a talented array of musicians performing they don’t miss the mark much. Tracks like ‘Pacific Standard Time’
and ‘The Feel Good Song of the Year’
(well they had to have a track called that didn’t they?) glide by nicely, but others such as ‘Domino’
and ‘Yours to Destroy’
are less refined, but are still listenable.
A nice surprise was the piano-led ‘Ontario’
, a beautiful track, my favorite of the softer ones on the disc. ‘Kill the Rich’
and the superior ‘Sleeping between Trucks’
are other less brash ones. This record is much, much better than the disappointing ‘Keep them Confused’, their last effort, but is by no means a classic in its own right.
One potential flaw with this album is the feeling you get that the band are staying within their comfort zone, churning out new tracks with the same formula as the classic ones. Combined with the fact that they are lyrically slightly less strong on this album also, there is a case for being unhappy with this offering. However, as mentioned above, its much more satisfactory listening than 'KTC', and that at least pleases some of their biggest fans.
An interesting question though; after they stop touring behind this album, how many of the tracks will be retained for future setlists... my guess is not too many at all.
Any previous fan of NUFAN should (and probably will anyway) pick this up though, and if you're looking for a way into the band, you could get this, and then be pleasantly surprised by some of their older records later. Don’t go expecting the feel good record of the year though.