Review Summary: More of the same… Right down to the album cover.
It is never a good sign when a band is arguably best known for having a close-up of a jean-clad female backside on their album cover. If this is not the claim to fame of Mississippi quintet Saving Abel, then it is probably that they included the lyric “I’m so addicted to all the things you do, when you’re going down on me in between the sheets” on their very first single. Somewhere, Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger was contemplating litigation for gimmick infringement! Yet, the band’s self-titled debut LP was a strange beast; predominantly neglecting the chest-thumping post-grunge / hard-rock hybrid it suggested, for unmemorable mid-tempo radio-rock cuts and power ballads.
Two years down the track and it seems that Saving Abel have not progressed all that much on follow-up album ‘Miss America’. What appears to be a ditzy blonde in a revealing American flag styled dress adorns the cover art, the lead single is titled ‘Stupid Girl (Only In America)’ and the rumored second single is called ‘The Sex Is Good’! Thankfully, the solid and sufficiently catchy title track is not about a beauty pageant, but turns out to be a play on words inspired by the band’s tour of the Persian Gulf for the USO/Armed Forces Entertainment.
Similarly to their debut, ‘Miss America’ starts out in poor fashion. Opener ‘Tap Out’ actually begins promisingly with 80 seconds of distorted instrumental build-up which suggests something more ambitious than expected. But as soon as lead vocalist Jared Weeks opens his mouth, Saving Abel begin to tread the same ground that bands like Papa Roach did a decade ago. You know the type of stuff; “Take your best shot at me… You got something to say, then say it to my face”. The aforementioned lead single also ploughs familiar territory, while the strange Southern ballad of sorts that is the horrendously titled ‘The Sex Is Good’ will not do much for anyone other than those looking for a tender moment in a strip club somewhere in Hicksville, U.S.A.
Saving Abel fare best when keeping it simple and concentrating on melodic hard rock, which they do a couple of times here on ‘Contagious’ and the especially rocking ‘Bloody Sunday’. However, they only hit a home run once and - again similar to their debut – it is on an emotive power ballad. Those who saw potential in the band off the back of their third ever single ‘Drowning (Face Down)’ will also be pleased with ‘I’m Still Alive’; a cut which mainstream rock radio is certain to devour. Infused with strings and acoustic guitar, Weeks gives his best performance to date on this track, nicely conveying emotion and strength. It is just a shame that this cannot be reproduced elsewhere on ‘Miss America’, as Saving Abel strike out on standard grungy Southern rock which is indistinguishable from hundreds of lesser-known bands doing the rounds.
What Saving Abel have gained with greater variety and balance on ‘Miss America’, they have lost on catchiness. It is really the only steps the band have taken second time around, with pretty much everything else remaining stagnant. The guitar-work once more provides a solid back-bone to most tracks without a great deal of technicality… A solo is thrown in here and there to effectively break things up… The rhythm section is dependable, but otherwise nondescript... The sound is dated and there is a clear lack of experimentation and ambition. It’s just all so mind-numbingly predictable. Quite simply, it’s more of the same… Right down to the album cover.
Recommended Tracks: I’m Still Alive & Bloody Sunday.
Just reading the song names, I can safely assume that they are all about sex, partying, and drinking with a few sappy love ballads that the chicks will like.
I especially despise bands that use this formula. '80s glam, Nickleback, Buckcherry..
"divine davyboy" I am not related to Bette Midler.
"I'm so ADDICTED TO...." people are gonna hate you for getting that line stuck in their head.
"At least the cover is better. Butts are overrated." hehe. Steven is a T man.
"I can safely assume that they are all about sex, partying, and drinking with a few sappy love ballads that the chicks will like." The latter is true, but strangely enough the lyrical content is a little more diverse this time around.
"Good review, DaveyBoy. Your review sounds 100% accurate. I'll listen to this, just for giving a rating, but I imagine a 2 sounds just about right if this is exactly like the debut."
Yeah, I saw your comments on their debut & they were pretty spot on. I am almost certain you will be around the 2 mark here again. You'll love 'I'm Still Alive' though... It's probably better than 'Drowning'!