Oh gosh, I gotta say, I feel pretty disappointed by this album. Maybe I've been spoilt by the previous two, which I absolutely love.
I agree that the songs on here do feel more 'finished' than most of their previous work, but I would argue that this takes away from the jam-like quality that I loved about this band in the first place. (If I wanted more structure I'd listen to the Raconteurs, know what I mean.) Secondly, the guitar riffs and hooks seem mostly pretty uninspired to me; like they picked the first idea they could make a song out of when writing each song. Maybe the slight lack of structure they had in their previous songs has saved them from this before, since you can't have a half-baked melody to basically lead the whole song; it's got to kick ass or else. Or maybe they kind of lost that real energy they had in the first two albums and tried to fake it; at times it sounds like that.
Last thing I disliked: the lyrics were not only subpar, but sometimes laugh out loud lame. Like, 'Let Me Through' has a really cool beginning and a short, supersweet solo bridge, but the "boom boom boom" and the refrain ("I'm a bad man let me through" lol) is too ridiculous for me; like the narrator's a unwitting wanna-be tough guy.
Allow me to indulge in going through track-by-track (nearly), to illustrate some of the points I made:
The opener, 'I Feel Love,' is one of the couple of songs I dig. You can properly move and groove to this tune, the tempo slowdown is pretty rad, and Alison's voice is as mordant as ever. 'Buzzkill(er)' has a really unnessecary parenthesis to make a bland title look more interesting, but the song itself doesn't have anything to save it from blandness. 'Three Dollar Hat' is pretty fun and has some great furious drumming outbursts. Next two tracks (Lose That Right, Rough Detective) are very meh, and 'Open Up' sounds like it tries to make up for it by being more memorable, but the chorus just falls flat imo. 'Be Still' is kinda cool, esp. the beginning sounds like Bone Machine-era Tom Waits, but the screamed melody moments were unnessecary; I think the song would've been better if it had a couple subdued moments (maybe the same thing can be said for the whole album). 'Mile Markers' definitely has sick snaredrummin' going on, and the rest is driving very well too. The chorus, again, though, seems a bit forced and kinda reminds me of Britney Spears or something (okay, it's not *that* bad, just kinda oddly poppy). Now, 'Cop and Go' is my absolute favorite from the album. Badass guitar tone, a creamy sounding bassline, a constant organ that makes you sit on the edge of your seat, aand then that glorious bridge that swells and Alison repeats the words from the title like a mix between Zack de la Rocka and Patti Smith. Finally, 'Too Bad' is more filler, and 'Impossible Winner'... well, I'm okay with it; it sure is an odd one for them to do. Although I do miss something like their other album closers (Old Mary, Will There Be Enough Water).
I think what I liked throughout the whole record were the drums; they're not mindblowing or anything, but they really drive each song and make up for the so-so riffs (as opposed to their first two albums, where the drums were often a badass accompaniment to riffs that were killer enough not to need it). Alright, sorry to have written like, a novel =P but I guess I needed to get this off my chest, since, like I said, I really love their previous two albums. Oh well, can't win 'em all.
Edited by terrycraig, 27 September 2015 - 08:06 PM.