Review Summary: If you're a fan of punk, hardcore, or music in general than I think you'll have a field day with this fun album.
The best part of loving a band for a long time is being able to see all the band's done to progress and become the band they are today. And one of the best offenders of this stereotype is Defeater, with their early outputs being much different than their newer, lighter stuff. This album is pure punk hardcore, nothing more nothing less, but it sure is a fun ride. Derek Archembalt is full wonder, singing his heart out with wild abandon, much nicer to hear than his later, forgive me for saying it, folker, counterpart. This is immediately evidenced by the opening song Blessed Burden. He shouts his heart out about being worthless and this is a very very common theme among the album. He sings with such a vindictive fury and rage that its hard to not take him completely seriously. The song has almost a hardcore punk vibe with him shouting "unwanted" at the top of his lungs over and over.
From here the album settles into a more hardcore style starting with the second track. This is a grate track, especially considering the dumb title, you might think the song would suck, but its actually one of the best on here. The slow build to go along with the vocal melody is simply brilliant, and is actually way better than the regular melody, which is a rare feat, so congrats to Derek for that one. The next track Nameless Streets is more of the same but its also a fun track with a bit of a hardcore edge. But he mixes things up on Prophet in Plain Clothes which is almost an acoustic folk Bob Dylan kind of song almost at the end where it gets more and more emotional until fizzling out like a brilliant firework in the sky. This would be a good time to talk about the band, on this outing they play pretty simple punk rhythms concerning the drums and bass. The guitar is pretty simple too and it would lead you to believe that the album is simple but Deerek really saves it from becoming too simple for its own good.
After that we get a couple business as usual tracks before we're greeted by the grand magnum opus of the album, Cowardice. This song is basically a suicide letter in music except years ahead of it's time. It's a cool but very downbeat song and that's fine to have downbeat songs, as long as it's one like here, and not all of them. And the downer mood works because the rest of the album works too. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the album just because of it's intense bridge and sad as hell lyrics. Overall it's a pretty decent album elevated by some of the best punk songs I've heard in a long time, and it's just a really fun adventure.