Review Summary: Not for music elitists, but incredibly fun.
Attack Attack is usually looked upon as some kind of joke. Their music video for Stick Stickly earned them the infamous ''Crabcore'' label because of the odd way they headbanged. Their first album was also filled with stupid song names, generic as hell breakdowns and annoying autotune. But, after that, they fired their screamer because of his attitude and in his place came Caleb Shomo which already was their keyboardist.
Did they improve? Yes! However, if you listen to this hoping it could feature spectacular musicianship, varied songwriting and inspiring lyrics, you may be really disappointed.
The notable difference between the two albums is obviously the vocals. First, Shomo has a much lower scream than Austin Carlile. His scream may not be technically perfect and lack some variation sometimes, but he still has great power and a unique tone. His highlight would be ''Smokahontas'', where he variates his screams enough and his phrasing works very well. Second, the singer uses a lot less autotune this time around and it's a great decision. He still doesn’t sound natural at all because of studio effects and still has one of the most generic voices in Whatevercore. However, pretty much every chorus is extremely catchy and makes me forget whatever flaws the clean vocals have.
The vocals here are not the only flawed thing. Finding another metal album this simplistic guitar-wise would be nearly impossible. There isn’t any solo or lead, and rarely harmony between the two guitars. It’s either one-note breakdowns or power-chord progressions for the whole thing. The only memorable guitar part for me is the breakdown riff in ''Renob, Nevada'' and it's overused. For the bass, it is heard like three times and even then it doesn’t do anything.
Another weak point is the lyrics. Some parts are actually not that bad, like in ''Turbo Swag'' (nobody will ever take them seriously with such song titles).
All I need, all I need is a simple escape
Can’t you see my mind as it struggles to be sane
An escape from everything
It finally changes on the inside
Some parts though are stupid to a point where one could question the band's intelligence. ‘’Shut Your Mouth’’:
Mcswagger in your car
Mcswagger in your stereo
Mcswagger part of every single bump and grind scenario
Mcswagger in your ear
Mcswagger in your head
Mcswagger is a super star that you dream of in your bed
Some of the tracks are also definitely weak. ''A for Andrew'' is slow during its whole duration and seems to drag for hours before we actually get to a chorus that is simply not worth it. ''AC-130'' begins with a pretty cool breakdown but then just gradually goes into slower breakdowns and has laughably generic lyrics. It ends up feeling a lot longer than it actually is. The other one is ‘’Shut Your Mouth’’, which is completely out of place with its dancing beat and afore-mentioned horrible lyrics (even if it's honestly pretty catchy).
Even with all those bad aspects, I still rated the album 3/5. It’s simply because it is comparable to a summer blockbuster. This is music you listen to when you just want some fun and catchy-as-hell music (elitists were, are and will be disrespecting every single person who has some kind of respect for this band). Like I already mentioned the choruses are catchy and will stay in your head for days. The breakdowns are still nothing much different than in any other band but they do their job very well. They are pretty brutal (sorry I couldn’t avoid it) and aren’t too generic (with some cool synths or drum fills from time to time).
The guitarists and bassist may be simple and repetitive, but the keyboard and drums are much more interesting and creative. The keyboards aren’t always there, but when they are, they either work for the ambiance, play a calm piano melody or add something extra on a breakdown (the best example would be the beginning of ''Sexual Man Chocolate''). The drums are confined to breakdown mode most of the time, but even then they still manage to do something interesting. Sure he overuses double-bass sometimes but it never becomes irritating.
There are also some highlights. Like I already mentioned, ''Renob Nevada'' has the coolest riff/breakdown on the album. ''I Swear I’ll Change'' has the best songwriting with a very dark feel to it. With a slightly less generic chorus it could have been the album's definite highlight. Finally, ''Smokahontas'' works on all aspects and ''Turbo Swag'' changes tone during the chorus for a great effect.
In conclusion, this album is nothing to take too seriously. Although there is nothing remarkably wonderful about it, it’s just some good music to sing/headbang on and is definitely underrated.