Review Summary: Revolution Roulette is another strong output from a band that has built a career on releasing well-written, consistent material.
Revolution Roulette, while not the strongest release from the always outstanding Poets of the Fall, is nonetheless miles ahead of almost all of their alternative rock contemporaries, a genre that has largely grown stale in recent years.
The album takes what is likely the most electric approach they've ever gone for on an album, discounting two outstanding acoustic ballads, Fragile and Where Do We Draw the Line, neither of which can quite live up to their earlier acoustic work, especially Carnival of Rust, or their music from Twilight Theater, but they are still very well written songs, anyway.
However, this album, just like their others, does not add all the strongest songs to the beginning and end, leaving the middle to run-on, leaving the listener beginning to turn out the music as mere background noise. The album remains consistently strong throughout. As to the individual tracks:
More: A great way to kick off the album, overall. The first half is some of the best music composition wise to be found on the entire album, but once the song enters the section with the, “Killjoy lives like it’s all about the money,” the song begins to slide downhill, but not enough that it undoes what was accomplished in the first half. 6/10
The Ultimate Fling: I liked this song when I first heard it, but it didn’t do as much for me as some of the other undeniable gems that scatter the album, but after awhile it began to grow on me. The song has a great flow to it, and the transition between the verses and choruses manages to just avoid being jarring, but the contrast between the two is one of the things that makes this song outstanding. That, and the minute and a half closing solo. It sounds easy to play at first, but it’s anything but. 8.5/10
Revolution Roulette: This is my favorite song off Revolution Roulette, a true masterpiece that displays almost everything I love about Poets of the Fall in one convenient, six-minute package. Marko, always outstanding, gives one of his better vocal performances on the album. The verses provide a calm, almost electronic background, while the chorus is loaded with soaring guitar lines. When I’m not doing a straight-through listen to the entire album, chances are I’ll be listening to Revolution Roulette. 10/10
Psychosis: This used to be up with Revolution Roulette at the top of the album for me, but repeated listenings have revealed it to be of not quite as good song writing as the rest of the album, for the most part. It isn’t bad, per se, just not very memorable. 6/10
Fragile: As I already said, I’ve always enjoyed POTF’s acoustic ballads, but the two on this album, while good, don’t seem quite as well written as those that would be released in either their past or future. Still, this is undeniably a very good song, with another very strong performance on Marko’s part. The relatively laidback feeling of the song really allow him to grab and hold the spotlight. 8/10
Clevermind: This is another album highlight for me. This song always manages to put me in a good mood, and it is a very peaceful tune, despite the slightly downer nature of the lyrics, the chorus especially. This is another relatively minimalist piece, instrumentally, but is the strongest one on the record. 10/10
Miss Impossible: Stylistically, this song is actually relatively similar to Psychosis, and I wish that previous track had managed to be as strongly written as this one. It doesn’t have the strongest lyrics POTF has ever written, but they work well enough for the song, and the way the music easily contemplates the vocal work makes that easily forgivable. 8.5/10
Diamonds for Tears: My opinion of this song has fluctuated greatly. At first I loved it, then I began to grow bored with it, and now I believe it is growing on me again. Compositionally, it isn’t the strongest of songs on the album, which is probably what led to my temporary disappointment, but that chorus is just so damn catchy! All in all, still a very good song. 7.5/10
Passion Colors Everything: This song is very similar to Diamonds for Tears in that my opinion has flip-flopped, but to less of an extent than another. I always did enjoy listening to this song, even when I did have my (relatively) lower opinion regarding it. However, this song what brought me back to really enjoying it was not the chorus, but the verses, one of the few cases where the former is better written than the latter. 8/10
Save Me: I love the guitar line in this song. It’s one of the harder numbers on Revolution Roulette, but also one of the better written ones. Aside from the guitar, though, it’s hard to explain why I enjoy it so much in the first place. Individually the different sections, verses, choruses, bridge, would be decent, but not an album highlight. Together, though, it makes a truly great song. Save Me is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. 9/10
Where Do We Draw the Line: I used to prefer Fragile, I really did. But after multiple listens, that one lost some of its luster, while this one only grew on me, to the point of being almost as good as their classics off CoR. It really is a beautiful song, and, once again, Marko’s performance really carries the song. All in all, this is a great way to close a really good album. 8.5/10
Revolution Roulette may not be the best album in Poets of the Fall’s fantastic discography, but by no means does it disappoint, either, and is definitely a worthy addition to the collection of any fan.