Review Summary: Adelitas Way haven’t repainted the picture that is modern rock, but they have given it a bold coat of new paint
Las Vegas modern rockers Adelitas Way were thrust into the spotlight back in 2009 after their self titled debut album spawned a number of hit singles including the popular track ‘Invincible’. In clockwork like fashion Adelitas Way have released their sophomore effort ‘Home School Valedictorian’ seven days short of exactly two years after their debut. Everything we learnt about the band two years ago has since been improved and further polished.
This refined hard edged modern rock sound is evident from the very first track ‘The Collapse’, which combines fast drumming, relentless guitar work and an angst fuelled fist pumping chorus designed to get the masses stirring. Although ‘The Collapse’ is a good way to demonstrate what this new record has in store for listeners, it isn’t a track that will get stuck in your head for days and this is where ‘Sick’ comes in. ‘Sick’ starts off sounding like an alarm has been raised about an imminent fire, which rapidly burns out of control. A solid drum beat, catchy lyrics and churning guitar all combine to propel this song along to a climatic finish. Once the fire that ‘Sick’ started burns out, the track ‘Alive’ begins with guitars that sound like stars shooting across the night sky. Apart from having some rather generic lyrics, ‘Alive’ is a rock ballad that sounds heavier than most. It doesn’t resort to acoustic guitar in order to push Rick DeJesus’s heartfelt lyrics across, but does encourage you to sing along. ‘Criticize’ follows on immediately from ‘Alive’ and takes no time diving straight back into the hard rock seen on the first two tracks. This track is the first to feature a really prominent bass line that drives the song along with the tight drumming. ‘Criticize’ also excels from the help of a catchy chorus ‘I like the way you won’t apologize, I like the way you just demoralize, I like the way you always roll your eyes, A person as perfect as you is hard to criticize’ and a somewhat dance like drum beat found in the bridge.
From here on in the rest of the album is really what you would expect from a modern rock band, which means; a few more decent tracks with a number of fillers. The remaining truly notable track is ‘I Wanna Be’ in which Rick DeJesus seems to be having a stab at the rich and famous. The lyrics in the chorus ‘famous for nothing, loser got lucky’ perfectly demonstrates his state of mind when penning the lyrics. He poses the question, if these losers that clog our TV screens and trashy magazines can be famous, why can’t I? All this is delivered via fast paced drumming, a slower catchy chorus and even a guitar solo thrown for good measure. The other tracks found around this one on the second half of the album mostly miss their mark, but none are quite as bad as ‘Somebody Wishes They Were You’ and the final track ‘Hurt’. Both these tracks sound awkward and ‘Home School Valedictorian’ would have benefited from them being hidden away in the closet.
Even though this album was written fairly quickly as a sophomore attempt, don’t let that scare you. It has worked wonders for the band and is much better then what peers such as 3 Doors Down have offered fans recently, after spending over three years working on an abysmal record. Despite not receiving the warmest opinions from critics in the past, ‘Home School Valedictorian’ is a welcomed return to what this genres leaders should be producing and as the album cover suggests, it’s an album that needs to be blasted loud. Only a few tracks towards the latter half of the album hold it back and makes the listener quickly forget how well the album started. Although Adelitas Way haven’t repainted the picture that is modern rock, but they have given it a bold coat of new paint, but for those who despise this genre, ‘Home School Valedictorian’ probably still won’t convince you that there is something worth listening to here.