23 August 2013

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Am I The Enemy?

I'm gonna review an album now suggested to me by my better half.  She's very into this band, after discovering them on the soundtrack to the movie 'Never Back Down'.  It's like a Karate Kid style movie, but about mixed martial arts.  It ain't bad.  The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (horrible band name) contributed 'False Pretence' to the movie.

Today though, we review the latest album, 'Am I The Enemy'.  Here's the picture:


I've listened to this album loads of times.  Nikki has control over our car playlist, and more often than not our house playlist, much to my chagrin.  But certain tracks on this album have grown on me, and so I decided to share my thoughts.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus (ugh.. I'm gonna call them RJA for now) got their name by choosing 3 random words (I'm assuming the word 'The' was added later) they'd thrown at a wall.  If I was them, and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus was picked from a wall, I'd pick some decent words and chuck them at the wall instead.  There.

Anyway, they're a Post-Hardcore (Emo) band from Florida, who formed in 2003.  Emo is a bit of an uneasy word/genre in my musical mind.  we're doing an upcoming 'Guilty Pleasures' feature, and I consider a lot of Emo bands (you know the ones I mean) to be guilty pleasures.  I think it's because I'm getting on a bit, and I like laughing at Scene Kids. (LOL, JK, LMFAO).  (I'm using a lot of parentheses in this blog).

So is 'Am I The Enemy' a guilty pleasure then?

Well it starts brightly.  'Salvation' is a good opener, slightly heavy, slightly anthemic.  One thing I notice immediately, having become familiar with all of this band's work (thanks to The Missus) is that this album is intentionally a lot more radio friendly.  Melodies are tight, and over produced.  Vocals are less 'Screamo' (I hate that word) than previous albums.

Lead single 'Reap' is terrible.  And there are 2 versions of it on this record.  Well, it's not terrible, I just think that lyrically it's disappointing, and musically it tries too hard.  RJA are very small in this country, and Nikki thinks this is criminal, having witnessed them live.  I can now understand the trying too hard but I wish that they hadn't.

'Wake Me up' is actually quite good, and it's followed by one of the tracks that has made it onto my infinite playlist.  'Am I The Enemy' gets it spot-on.  Awesome guitars, catchy lyrics, a decent theme.  nice and shouty.

Then the album seems to get clingy, pushing out sickly, over produced ballads ('Dive Too Deep', 'Angel in Disguise')/  There's small salvation on 'Where Are The Heroes', and 'Don't Lose Hope' doesn't disturb me too much either.  But it's the harder, faster songs on this album that I like.  'Fall From Grace' picks up the intensity a bit, but 'Choke' helps massively.  The album to me is a bit of a mixed bag, like RJA are trying to find a formula here.  Truth is, they found it in 2006 on 'Don't You Fake It' and 'Choke' serves as a reminder of that.  Scream more, Ronnie.  I know you can.

6/10: Now I see where you were going, but not quite there.

(Also, they lose points for having members called Ronnie and Randy).

Here's the awesome (if you like that kind of thing) (more brackets!) video for 'Am I The Enemy'.



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