Review Summary: 50% breakdowns and 50% techno
Probably most famous for their music video for 'Stick Stickly', the band that is now known and jokingly referred to as 'crabcore' have released their self-titled sophomore effort for the world to hear. Having found the first album nothing special, monotonous and boring, I hope and expect some forms of improvement with this release.
With their second album the band have matured their sound whilst keeping just as much hooks, synths and breakdowns as their first release. This, however, could be seen by some as the problem. Breakdowns do certainly get boring after a whole album of listening to them, especially when half of those breakdowns have nothing special about them. Synths during breakdowns are starting to get old and even though Attack Attack! do them quite well, it's not something they'll be able to keep up for a long time if they want to sound different to all other bands.
Caleb and Johnny are pretty even on vocal duties as they both play instruments, Caleb on keyboard whilst Johnny sings. Whether you'll like Caleb as the new screamer all comes down to whether you prefer the deeper or higher screams. If you're more into 'deep, brutal' screaming, you'll prefer their current screamer Caleb, but if you're more into 'scenie screamy' vocals then you might prefer their old screamer, Austin. The autotune is also a big improvement on this album, as there is simply much less of it heard. I can remember some times hearing a high pitched fuzzing sound in my ear whenever Johnny and his heavily autotuned voice came on in the first album. This is thankfully gone, so I'll assume he's improved on vocals and that they've gotten a producer who's bothered to read the manual on how to use autotune this time around.
I'm not too sure how the lyrics were on the first album, but they're pretty much bogus on this one. They're written like diary entries or the poems of an angsty junior highschool kid. Their meanings can sometimes be good but the lyrics themselves just sound bad. It's okay to have a rock song with unintelligently written lyrics but they have to at least SOUND good with the music they're playing with. Most of rock is made up of songs like this. Attack Attack! however, forgot to make the words sound good (or rhyme) and it can be sometimes offputting or make a song seem like it could be better than it is vocally.
With this self-titled release, Attack Attack! seem like they're trying to please both crabcore fans and ravers alike. This latest effort is 50% breakdowns, screams and gang vocals and 50% dance beats, synths and dumbened mainstream lyrics. Yet at the same time, they've matured since they last album and seem to mostly make their two genres work well together. So if you don't already have a biased opinion, then you may find a few things to enjoy about this album, or even the whole album. I like it, because I can't help but like anything that's catchy. Or you might just plain hate it. Which would also be understandable.