Review Summary: Supported with enjoyable and refreshing choruses, along with tight instrumentation, (but sadly shadowed by generic lyrics) this is a well above-average record for the band
Based in San Diego, California, Unwritten Law is an alternative-rock band similar to artists like Lagwagon and Alien Ant Farm, who have so far released six studio albums. Although they were extremely underrated at the beginning of their career, overtime, the mainstream got the best of them and they began to gain appropriate spotlight. Vocally, Scott Russo returns with his shouted yet passionate vocals along with some infectious guitar riffs to carve out a fantastic album; recommended as a starting point for the band. But despite it being marred by inconsistency and the occasional generic attitude (seen by some of the singles and mediocre lyrics, for instance), this is probably their most recognized album and a fan-favorite by far.
By no means is this album terrible or atrocious, but Here’s to the Mourning
can sometimes be simply bad and tediously basic. The impressively outstanding tracks such as ‘Save Me’, ‘Because of You’, and ‘She Says’ represent some of their most rockin’ and sterile songs to date, but others such as ‘Get Up’ are somewhat cringe-worthy and something to be ignored with the band, ultimately. Personally, though, the band has a great sense of melody, making this one of the strongest characteristics on the album.
The album features eleven, relatively strong tracks ultimately led with guitars and vocals (and once in a blue moon, a violin). Because of their strong singles, this album was boisterous in mainstream popularity and even won them some appraisable awards. Most of the songs presented here are anthem-like and energetic, rarely falling on the lines of “depressing” or “gloomy”, giving off more of an easy- listening vibe. Album opener ‘Get Up’ showcases the energy well by delivering although terribly cheesy lyrics, an easily sing-along chorus and great guitar hooks here and there. ‘Because of You’ is definitely highlighted by the sparkling guitar melody and laid-back/euphoric chorus, whereas ‘Lost Control’ is led with a crunchy guitar riff and intense rhythm setups. Songs like ‘Save Me’ could provide therapy for some listeners though, solely by the reflective lyrics about alcoholism and the great cross between twinkling guitar melodies and crunchy riffs (seen from the verses and choruses). The song was also selected as a single, and rightfully so.
Backtracking though, ‘Celebration Song’ is a very melodic yet seemingly chaotic song driven by one hell of a chorus and fun ‘n rough instrumentation, another clear highlight for this album and a personal favorite. ‘She Says’ is a more aggressive track, mostly because of the pounding percussion and simplistic riff, but despite it being slightly inaccessible and periodically hard to swallow (depending on your mood); it’s a grinder of a track and a sweet spot for the album. During the verses, Scott really exemplifies his best ability both vocally and even lyrically, mostly because of how he harmonizes very well with the beautiful acoustic guitar melody heard in the background, and slides in very personal lyrics that make it a redeeming quality compared to some other atrocious lyrics found on the album.
Despite the album being very radio-friendly (their singles were heard on the radio sometime every twenty minutes back in ’04 and ’05), Here’s To the Mourning
is a fairly consistent record with good melodies, passionate vocals and a slew of fun choruses. Like aforementioned, ‘Get Up’ is pretty much offensive in all five senses, but luckily, most of the album makes up for the dead space. The album has an air of familiarity (I’m sure) for already fans of the band, and is overall above-average.
Because of You