Review Summary: Entertaining at first, but this is not an album by any means.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Let me start off on the main fault of this album. It is eight tracks long and comes up to just over thirty minutes in play time. If this wasn't short enough, the eighth track on the album is a slightly altered version of a song off of their previous album. So if we remove this the play time comes up to just about twenty six minutes. This is not a full length album, no matter how much it claims to be. This could pass off as an extended EP. This is not worth the money to buy unless you are a hardcore 'The Main Drag' fan (Which I doubt anyone is).
Rant aside, this album isn't bad musically. The Main Drag ably fuse Death Cab for Cutie’s sensitive guy sound with Broken Social Scene’s flair for minor experimentation. Changing from their previous attempts, the strings have been switched for synths and more electronic sounds. This album is much more energetic than 'Yours as fast as mine'. Sorry, I'll correct myself; The First Four tracks on this album are much more energetic (five at a stretch). 'Homesuperior' and 'Talk them down' are a fair bit like a mic between 'What's your favourite dinosaur?' and 'Love during wartime' off of the band's first album. 'Talk them down' is the standout best track on the album. There is always a lot going on with distorted guitar chords and pops of electronic whistling mixed with the as always powerful drumming this track. Then, towards the end of the song the mood suddenly changes and we are treated to the emotional singing of Adam Arrigo.
Hang on a second, the exact same can also be said about 'Homosuperior'. Hmm. Minus marks for unoriginality there.
'Tricky Girl' gives the album bonus marks for being one of the catchiest and enjoyable pop rock/electronica songs in existence. This track is pretty much entirely electronic with enjoyable synth melodies alternating in the chorus' and verses and the backing, "lalalalalalalala" being sung by the band whenever it will fit. Hell, even the break in the song is catchy. 'Don't let me down slowly' is also almost entirely electronic. However, it's also very repetitive, changing only slightly for the chorus' and nothing else. However, it's still a pretty smooth song and enjoyable nonetheless. Megatron is also a decent song, though repetitive and boring for the first three quarters. It then saves itself however by conjuring up some musical bravado and making full use of synths and drums to make a catchy but atmospheric end to the song.
Unfortunately, from here the album collapses into boredom, with the remaining two numbers proving less than imaginative and basically forgettable. 'Cease and desist' slowly adds more and more to the track, but fails to do it in such a way that it becomes immersive and interesting. It then tries to do a turn around and change the mood of the song but ends up being even more boring. There's a slight success at the end when the song becomes a jumble of sounds but with a distinct melody over the top but by this point the song has lost any energy it might have been saving for this. 'Teeth, Face, Outerspace' is a much better song, only applying to the forgettable bit from earlier. There is plenty of melody and experimental sounds in this track to guarantee a decent reception but the song doesn't really change much throughout, making it almost five minutes of melody and noise but no progression.
Finally, we come to the bonus track of the album. Undeniably, this album's version of 'A jagged gorgeous winter' is better than the previous version. This version has added cymbals, a drum break, more guitar and extra backing vocals. Listening to the two versions next to each other will make you realise just how empty the original sounded. This didn't make it bad, it just made it give off a different feel. The original had a 50/50 split of good and bad vibes, whereas this version has more of a 70/30 split. It feels more right this way and is more enjoyable. However, it really isn't necessary. This version is a lot like the original save a few added parts. It's quite obvious that this song was put on as a filler to bring the album up to thirty minutes in length.
To respond to my first paragraph, without the final track, this album is only two minutes shorter than The Ramones debut album, and Smiley Smile was only twenty two minutes long, proving that great albums do not necessarily need to be long to be good. However, this album lacks the musical prowess of it's predecessor that is required to be just that little bit more oustanding. Do not be mistaken, this is a very enjoyable use of thirty minutes, and there is some good work put into this album, but at the same time, this is not a brilliant album in any way.