Sound — 6
The sound on this album is, of course, different. I wasn't sure what to expect from APC upon hearing that they were doing a cover album, let alone an album with the focus of politics. Although I personally don't agree with Maynard's views, I put aside our differences in hopes of critiquing the quality of the music, and if the songs sounded any different than the originals. After really digging into the music and the originals, I have to say that I appreciate APC's covers; the majority of them are original, extremely atmospheric remakes. In my opinion they succeeded in creating an album that is considerably better than the majority of covers/cover albums. A few standout tracks are: Annihilation, (What's So Funny 'Bout), Peace, Love, and Understanding, Gimme Gimmie Gimmie, When The Levee Breaks. I believe that "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" was an angry song, but they approached it with a sense of humor; think "Nurse Who Loved Me" but heavier. "People Are People" also has pretty humorous clips. Although I agree with the previous review that this album is not better than their originals, I disagree that this has 'put a dent in Maynard's nearly flawless armor'. It's a cover album, so you have to lower your expectations slightly because, well, it's not original. There's a lot less flexibility when you're working with other artist's music. I thought that the music for "Passive" was a little different, but was disappointed by the formula they seemed to follow for it. I'm thinking they rushed because they wanted to release it on election day or wanted to finish it while the election was such a heated topic. All in all, impressive for a cover album, though not anywhere near excellent.
Lyrics — 6
Maynard actually sings with a very unique variety on this album. From "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" to "Peace, Love, And Understanding" he sometimes doesn't even sound like him. So his performance is up to par in regards to vocals. Most of the lyrics I won't critique because they're not APC's, with the exception of "Passive" and "Counting Bodies Like Sheep To The Rhythm Of The War Drums." In regards to "Passive," I wasn't too appreciative of it. The music of it is nice, but the lyrics were a little below par if you're used to Maynard's typically beautiful poetry. I personally don't care for "Passive"; I won't skip it when it comes on, but the majority of the covers are better.
Overall Impression — 6
Overall, this album is decent. It is a cover album, so you can't expect APC to keep up the par that they've set for themselves with their past two masterpieces, but the creativity is obvious and apparent. I'm pretty hard on music I don't like, and I consider myself hard to impress when it comes to anybody that's been signed to a label, so I'm kinda on the verge of giving it a 2, but the 4 standout songs I mentioned above are exceptional and extremely appealing. APC continues to deliver, though this album won't be the one you pop in when you're chilling with your friends.