The NewYork based band has stepped up their game and gotten heavier this go around. While some of the quirky elements that brought a more eclectic ambiance is still in tact it's just less consuming. If the earlier work brought System of a Down to mind then the results are something a little closer to more recent Mastodon. Singer Tim Kaim gives his best performance yet, putting more guts into his voice , he digs down into a lower register to find some common ground with Troy Sanders tonally. To say they are more tongue in cheek at this point would be hard pressed, after all how seriously does Mastodon take themselves. Lyrically the subject matter leans towards frustrations of an average joe. and conspiracies that plague the common man. On "Love Gun"...no, not the Kiss song, the band goes in a more Stone Temple Pilots direction. It's immediately evident two songs in that this album is really well produced and the vocal over dubs are one of the albums strengths in providing layers to their sound. You can also here elements of the Cult on "Love Gun" as well with the solos winking at the 80's Hollywood scene.
What started off as frustrations of average joe in the lyrical department take a turn for the gutter as they go into sleazier subjects, pole-dancing and s&m. Though the most nefarious subject might be the Home Shopping Network on "19.95". The songs dynamically ebb and flow, with melodic passages surfacing through out. They get heavier on "Pistols N' Pitchforks" though it still has ample amounts of arena rock to it. There are some phrases where Kaim's voice takes on a dramatic swagger not unlike that of Jack Black's meatier moments on Tenacious D, though without the Dio worship.
The band have capable chops working best tightly coiled together and grooving on songs like "Skateboard Punk". Guitar solos find ways to squeal out of the nooks and crannies of every song. The album continues to rock with sinewy riffs slithering around alt-rock progressions that are dirtied up like a stripper at a Guns n Roses concert. The backing vocal have that Sunset Strip blues feel on 'Tight Jean Jeannie". The pace changes the most dramatically on "Deep Darkest Night" that is a bizarre power ballad of sorts though midway it changes into a more staccato pattern with the pound of early Faith No More.
They return to a more cutting style of metal on what might be the album's best song"Hypnotic Regression". The vocals shift into a more extravagant soar, that build the most memorable memories as you get the sense band really takes themselves seriously on this song. The closing song goes back into more of a rock n roll strut. If you were to compare them to the current wave of radio rock fans of bands like Avenged Sevenfold, would find plenty to sink their fangs into. If you are one of my regular readers hear it's likely your tastes in metal might find this to be middle of the road hard rock when compared to what we normally classify as metal here as the vocals have balls but never growl and they are tuned higher than a and never use blast beats, but never the less if you want something light hearted and fun, these guys have stepped up their game and conceived an album of good time party rock.