What we have here is a record that made me feel not the normal highs and lows of experiencing an album for the first time, but almost as though I’ve been robbed. All of the elements of a good record are there—hooky melodies, a solid, music-can-save-you-and-your-future-children opening/title track, a cheeky sense of irony. The problem is that so does everything else these days. When all the aforementioned elements are put together in a way-too-slick production and sound like they’re performed by Appealing Rock Singer Prototype One™, we got a problem here. I found myself wanting to scream at them, “TRY HARDER!”
Yes, I’m very sorry that you’ve spent a great deal of your musical careers opening for bigger bands and being underappreciated, but did you have to write a song about it (“Hey Carrier”)? Yes, I, too, feel that the music scene is full of posers and it must be much more intolerable in New York (“Metropolitan,” “Dry Ice & Strobe Lights”). This is not a revelation, and there would have to be actual feeling behind the lyrics or an innovative way of telling this fact to make me accept that there are two songs on the subject. There’s basically nothing about this record that makes me care. It’s rock by numbers, and I could see them fitting in between Blink 182 and Hoobastank on your local alterna-lite station. Smart listeners, I think, need much, much more than that.