Sound — 9
311 comes back after 2 years after the release of "Uplifter". The album "Uplifter" was a 16 track album if you went to the effort of getting the Deluxe edition (with "I Like The Way" and "Get Down") both of which are worthy of being in the Album (fans love "Get Down") and the bonus tracks of "Sun Comes Through" and "How Long Has It Been". Fans seem to gravitate toward "Get Down" and "Sun Comes Through" as the most worthy. As for "Universal Pulse". It is a 8 song album. Which has thrown a lot of fans off. But, for what it is all 8 of these songs are winners. From the get go the Album starts off with an upbeat tribute to the fans and a recall of rehearsing for shows in "Time Bomb". The song follows with an interesting take on how life was/is while partying and trying different substances. The album follows with the lead single "Sunset" in July where it is a straight-forward tribute to the fans that come every summer and "rock out" while the sun sets. The album has a very catchy and 311-vibe filled energy. By song #4 the song digs deeper into the youthful exploits of drugs and partying in the more chill-vibed, but very introspective "Trouble" (One of my favorites) and follows with a more General Pubilc "Count Me In" Where is talks about... If you do it, I will-Kind of reggae rock 311 tunes (cool shizz). Rock On is the more truthful/dirty side of all that partying where people don't really care what's going on and just want to do as much as possible and get caught up in "the game" of drugs and dealing. Bringing it to a blunt line of "don't care what you're doing, using whatever drugs come your way, (turning into) beg, steal and borrow (Whatever you have to do) to keep up that lifestyle". Basically the message is that it is Self-destructive and there are times where you don't know what the heck is going on and you just keep going just to keep your habit and the "party" alive. Very true to old 311 roots, and also a thought provocative song about what people are willing to do (A harder rock song). Rock/chillin' out with "Weightless" which is a easily enjoyable catchy rock song. It seems to be about individuality and the greater thought that deep thought can bring you to a state of weightlessness (That's my take anyway). Good tune. Very rock heavy with a slick lead guitar by Tim Mahoney, and a very very heavy breakdown. Break away from "Them" and be your own individual. Finally "Universal Pulse" ends with "And A Ways To Go" which is a song that is about a deep search that describes a crazy dream that seems to be about others (form another planet maybe) to show the answers of life. The ending portraying a liftoff into another "realm" where those involved are not sure if they want to return. A state of enlightenment? Or maybe traveling to a new land where those may forget ties with Earth? Who know. But to me it seems to be a very "Mission To Mars" feel. If you've ever seen the movie, the ending basically matched this song (to me). Very great effort/album by 311. Not much like "Uplifter" at all. Shorter but fulfilling that classic 311 style. I definitely recommend this album. Peace... And "Rock On" to all those perusing the musical front. "Come on yeah it'll be alright, we're gonna take a ride I don't know if we'll come back"
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are much more substantial than of "Uplifter". Things dealing with substance abuse and the thought of a new reality. There are a couple songs that are more geared to a "fan-base" style where the group thanks their fans for their continued following and the perk of rocking out LIVE. The rest is more oriented around self and substance.
Overall Impression — 9
GOOD! Get it.