Review Summary: "P.S. Don't play me like a Nintendo 3DS"
“Sometimes it feels so good to cry,” Trevor McNevan sings on denoument cut “All I Need to Know”. It's covered in acoustic guitar chords; it's got some Lion King
"oh-wah" background harmonies going on behind the mix there. Clearly
, Thousand Foot Krutch's feelings and intimate confessions are intended to be taken seriously.
But they aren't. Because there's that thing about intentions – sometimes they fall short in the outcome of an actual product, especially with things like music. And the whole of Thousand Foot Krutch's The End Is Where We Begin
is a meandering example of that.
Rewind back to 2009 when McNevan and his Christian rap-rock crew unleashed Welcome to the Masquerade
on the Christian music markest. It went boom – kinda. Fans went yay
; most critics, besides our own Fromtheinside, went yay
; and it seemed like Thousand Foot Krutch again held a place as being a successful crossover Christian rock act that even the secular kids could bang their heads to on the radio. Yay
So, understandably, Thousand Foot Krutch took that relative success and ran with it on follow-up The End is Where we Begin
. Lead single “War of Change” is promising and inspiring, hitting like an old, respectable Linkin Park
ten years later. Back when the song was released in December, it gave some hope that this fifteen-track outing would play on that kind of strength.
But The End is Where We Begin
doesn't. Instead, McNevan jam packs awkward melodies into verses rapped around guitar riffs that sound weakly produced. It's surprising and, admittedly, a rare problem concerning studio matters in commercial releases, but the songs themselves would sound more sincere, and rock out in general, if the distortion on the amps was turned up a couple notches.
These awkard verses and choruses plague the first half of this outing, and the meant-well yet cringe-worthy lyrics hurt things even further. “Let the Sparks Fly” sounds like, get this, “Bodies” from Drowning Pool
, except McNevan begs the listeners to let him “take you into the light,” in some weak attempt to sound hopeful, or something.
And then there's “I Get Wicked”: McNevan's rapping returns here and in “Down”, but that addition becomes sour and irrelevent when lyrics like, “I can be nice. But don't test me – I can get wicked,” are the first words you hear from the song. Even “Be Somebody”, which has the strongest melody thus far, kind of cancels its own message out with the admition, “Still you connect me in your way, and you created me,” before forsaking such humble declaration for the bark, “We all want to be somebody,” in the chorus.
“This Is A Warning” - with psuedo-epic strings, no less – transitions The End is Where We Begin
from sloppy, miss-matched failed experiments to Fm Static
-like songs. If you recall, Fm Static
is the pop-punky side project of Trevor McNevan, so this switch is a little revealing that the Thousand Foot Krutch moniker is quickly losing juice and running out of places to go.
Ballads with acoustics and keyboards bring this half of The End is Where We Begin to Close
to close. And at the very least, the songs actually sound like they fit together, if not particularily making strong cases for being worthwhile in and of themselves as songs. But an album is made of two halves, not one, and since the first half of The End is Where We Begin
is kinda like listening to a nu-metal cover band, the positives of the second just feel like the band was trying to get a C on a final if only to pass a class:
Thousand Foot Krutch barely make it through, but everyone knows they deserve to fail.