Review Summary: A poppier, more melodic influenced pop punk album that is catchy and more accessible than earlier releases by No Use for a Name.
No Use for a Name's early work seemed to be all over the place, that is until the release of 1995's Leche Con Carne, where the band seemed to find their distinct sound. NUFAN is primarily a pop punk band, but unlike most other ones, NUFAN had a darker sound to them and sang as much about society as non pop punk bands like Bad Religion. NUFAN also proved they were talented musicially, with Tony Sly's versatile voice and the band's heavy rhythm section, complete with talented solos. 1997's Making Friends continued the band's popularity in the underground punk scene with new guitarist Chris Shiflett, who would later become a member of the Foo Fighters.
Many criticize More Betterness! because, although its a fun listen, it sounds the same like their last two records, and therefore aren't progressing in sound. I believe that is a lie, but not a complete one. The band actually sounds quite different on this album, but they just aren't progressing in a way that most fans would appreciate. This albums sounds way more poppier and melodic than past releases, and therefore doesn't pack the punch that made NUFAN a popular band in the punk scene. Still, the album is still pretty good and entertaining to listen to.
The labum opens with "Not your Savior." Right from the start, the band sounds fairly different from Making Friends. This is primarily from lead singer tony Sly's matured voice. The sound is noticably more poppier and less heavy, although its still good nonetheless.
Upon first listen, this album is really, really good. Its more straightforward than past releases, which is shocking, because they've always been a pretty straightforward band. Songs like "Why doesn't anybody Like Me?", "Life Size Mirror", "Chasing Rainbows" and "Coming Too Close" have very catchy choruses and are among the best the album has to offer.
Songs like "Saddest Song", "Lies Can't Pretend" and "Sleeping In" are very similar sounding to that of their last album. "Let It Slide" is an acoustic like song that reflects Tony Sly's later in life decision to record acoustic songs. "Fairytale of New York" is an awesome cover of a Pouges song. If you have never heard the song before, you don't even need to hear that song before you listen to the cover version.
Lyrically, NUFAN isn't as socially or politically charged as they usually are. Most of these songs are about friends and former love flames, but they are still well written. However, the song "Pride" is an attack on people who take pride in their country, heritage and ancestry. Rather than just mentioning American pride or white pride like most stereotypical punk bands would do, NUFAN sings like they mean ALL races and countries who take pride in themselves, and are just adding bricks that divide us all.
More Betterness! is a great album by No Use for a Name. While it seems the band is drifting more into melodic pop punk (which is highly evident on later releases, such as 2008's The Feel Good Record of the Year), the album is still very enjoyable and worth your time if you like pop punk or just this band in general.