Review Summary: Loud and edgy, but not overly memorable.
I actually liked !UNO!. It wasn't groundbreaking, but there were glimpses of classic Green Day amongst harmless and at times catchy filler. !DOS! was billed by the band and the critics as more edgy, with less pop and more garage rock to make fans sit up and take notice.
So it was surprising to hear !DOS! begin with a whimper rather than a roar. 'See You Tonight' seems to be Billie Joe attempting a Dylan-esque comedy routine. It's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't bode well for an outstanding album. Past that, the initial impression is of a more raw sound. The guitars have been turned up and the backing vocals turned down, and it's all very reminiscent of Green Day's alter egos Foxboro Hot Tubs' 'Stop Drop and Roll'. The problem is that it still just isn't very exciting, nor does it have many of the musical trademarks that fans and neutrals associate so favourably with the trio.
Parts of the album are deliciously nostalgic in the way Armstrong assumingly intended. 'Stray Heart', '*** Time' and 'Stop When the Red Lights Flash' are all standouts for their toe-tapping groove. It's very 60s and leaves a positive impression in an album with few genuine highlights. Even here though, we're left with a feeling that Billie Joe is writing within a genre that really doesn't suit him. It sounds nothing like Dookie or even American Idiot. It sounds quite a bit like a mid-life crisis.
Beyond this, it's an album of middle-of-the-road rock and seedy disco-garage nonsense. 'Makeout Party' is written from the point of view of a sexed-up teenager, and 'Ashley' is angsty but not convincing. Most alarmingly, 'Nightlife' hints at hip-hop for no apparent reason, and the lyrics are simply laughable. 'Nightlife' is the low-point of Armstrong's songwriting for quite some time, and leaves us wondering where the magic that created 'Burnout' disappeared to.
Fortunately, the album ends on a reasonable note. 'Amy' is glaringly out of place in an album where the previous track is titled 'Wow! That's Loud', but is still a gorgeous ending worth repeated listens and goes some way towards reminding us of Armstrong's previously obvious songwriting talent.
Overall, !DOS! is a disappointing follow-up to !UNO! in that it doesn't really create any memorable moments comparable to their previous work. It's fun in parts, but not enough to call it an album worthy of Green Day's talent.