Ian Watkins said that this album would be darker. The static at the opening of the first track implies as much. The fact that the lead single of Liberation Transmission, ‘Rooftops’, was unbelievably well received, despite its lack of originality, made me hope as much. The band don’t disappoint – not for the first two tracks.
‘If It Wasn’t For Hate, We’d Be Dead By Now’ might have a P!AD aesthetic, but the compulsive Test-Icicles drum-hook and dark delivery give it edge (even if the concept is a repeated-to-death pseudo-paradox). DSTRYR/DSTRYR is Mellon Collie Pumpkins meets RATM’s ‘Bull’s on Parade’; again, Watkins’ delivery is a highlight. ‘The Light That Burns Twice As Bright’, a sombre, piano-led closer, touches on poignant, exploding after three minutes in an impressive fashion.
Unfortunately the attempt to make atmospheric tracks doesn’t last long. ‘Where We Belong’ is a cheap and inferior Blink-182 imitation, and things don’t recover until the very end. Darkened musical interludes don’t hide the fact the songs are very standard Lostprophets; even the interesting violin-led intro of ‘A Better Nothing’ descends into the same pop/punk style. ‘Streets of Nowhere’ has an incomprehensibly ‘mod’ beginning and breaks down like ‘Town Called Malice’, but by the chorus, it’s unavoidably pop/punk.
They try reach out to all sorts of genres but it ends up sounding confused. In a way, the more standard sounding songs, like ‘Dirty Little Heart’, are more effective because they don’t pretend to be anything else. There’s an audience for this album, but songs like ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Felon’ are as annoying as you’d expect. Mind, if you find standing on rooftops, screaming, ‘Aaahaaah,’ cathartic, not irritating, then this album might just be for you.