Review Summary: A bad opener does not equal a bad album; Nonpoint's little acoustic experiment is actually rather decent.
Nonpoint has always been one of my favorite bands. With that said, I wasn't expecting anything out of this album. In fact, I was never going to check it out at all in the first place, but curiosity got the best of me, like it often does. While I'm definitely pumped for their upcoming, early 2010 studio album, I was (and kind of still am) struggling to understand the exact point of this acoustic release. Ok, you've got some of your (admittedly) best songs, and you make acoustic version of them. Nice. Wait, why did you go and do that again"
This EP opens up with the song "Circles" (originally found on Nonpoint's 2002 effort Development
), and it's hands down, the worst, and in truth, the only bad song here. I'm not going to sound very professional now, but the reason this is the worst song, is that it's just flat out boring. Its acoustic riff is pretty captivating.....for about 10 seconds. Elias' rather quiet vocals don't really help either and the tedious echoing, samey drum beats are just annoying. The tempo is painfully down-tuned, and all in all, it's a terrible opening track. "Circles" wasn't really one of Nonpoint's best songs to begin with, so I'm a bit baffled it made it onto this EP, especially as the opener.
Things definitely light up from there on, though. "Rabia" (originally found on 2004's Recoil
) has a great funk to it. Elias' vocals are much more profound here and have a dirty, throaty "ruuuumphhh" to 'em. Acoustic guitars are more present, some sweet percussion touches here and there, and you've got a good acoustic tune. Next up is "Victim" (originally on 2000's Statement
), which was originally a very angsty song, so I was definitely looking forward to hearing the acoustic version of it. It has an almost country feel to it and also exhibits the most experimentation, both music and vocal wise. Elias really pushes his vocal chords here, and the upbeat acoustics work very well, making "Victim" possibly the best song on here. Penultimate track is "What A Day" (also off Statement
), and while not a bad song by any means, it lacks a certain oomph. Not bad, but there really isn't much to say about it, other than its ok, but kind of casual and unremarkable hard-rock-gone-acoustic.
This EP closes with the song "Your Signs" (originally on Development
). "Your Signs" has always been one of my favorite Nonpoint songs. The original version had a sweet bassline and a truly mesmerizing chorus, coupled with a good wriggly guitar riff from ex-guitarist Andrew Goldman (now replaced by Zach Broderick). I'm happy to say that the acoustic remake lives up to the original. It's got a rather dark, although also beautiful atmosphere, silent guitar sound, and slightly cautious, although fitting percussion. It's a great closer, unlike the opener, which was just bad.
I still have a few problems with this EP though. For one, while Nonpoint succeeds in remaking the songs in an interesting-enough manner, it will always bug me, that they just sound better plugged. Sure, 3 out of 5 remakes are very well done, but they are still inferior to their respected proto-forms. Also a thing that fazes me I already presented in the intro - Why was this release necessary, and why exactly now" Nonpoint has a new record coming in about 3 or so months (if everything goes as expected) anyway, so why dig up old classics and remake them now" The idea itself isn't bad, but was it really necessary" I'd say no. Still, you can't actually bag the guys for it; at the end of the day, they are doing it for the fans.
Nonpoint's little acoustic experiment is interesting, although not necessarily needed. For fans of the band, it provides an amusing new viewpoint to some old classics of Nonpoint, but for everyone else, logically, it's better to look into their LP's first. Elias & Co. did manage to transform ( the somewhat angsty) nu metal tunes into soft acoustic ones pretty well, but in conclusion, the best thing about Cut The Cord
is still the cover. Just look at it, it's pretty.