Sound — 7
I would like to go on note saying I was pretty hopeful for this record, and also go on note saying I have not been a fan since "The Flamingo Trigger". I have been a fan since "Introducing..." came out, and I feel they have been continually improving as a band. So back to the topic of being hopeful, I definitely have to say I feel a little bit let down. Don't get me wrong I haven't come out feeling completely negative about my experience listening to this album. Previous explanations of the process claimed they were going for a more raw underproduced sound. I can't hear this as the quality is pretty crisp and most songs have great clarity. Some tracks differ drastically from the ridiculousness of previous songs fans may be used to such as "The Streets" which sounds kind of like a 50's soulful song about being raised on the streets, and "(It's) Too Late Baby" has a melancholy-ish sound and it holds more seriousness than fans may be used to. Overall the sound isn't unlistenable but sometimes falls into a territory that you probably wouldn't want to get caught listening to with your car window's down.
Lyrics — 5
This is where I felt let down in the album. Their earlier fare had interesting theatrical lyrics which made me think more of Queen, or some form of opera at least. I feel they have waded into a more generic rock territory with the lyrics on this album. 4 tracks specifically make me feel like this. "Welcome To The Church Of Rock And Roll", "I Like It", "Holy Touch" and "I Wanna Be Yours". Each song has a drastically repeated chorus (3-4 times) which just makes me feel like they wanted to push the album out and they needed filler material. Some of the other songs have a more listenable interesting sound, but for the most part what I enjoyed is still different than their previous material so some fans may be let down. Eric's vocals are still superb in any case which leaves me in the middle of the road here.
Overall Impression — 7
If I had an order of where their albums place in favoritism, this one would be right above "The Flamingo Trigger" for me, which is the album I liked the least (I don't listen to any "core" type music and the random-mess, and screaming thing doesn't do it for me with music). "Introducing..." was and still is my favorite, and their self title had some other songs I really enjoyed and I thought the direction of the album was interesting. This album as stated before feels mostly like filler. I do enjoy a handful of songs... Actually make that more like a palmful. Even though it's repetitive I enjoy the song "Holy Touch", it has an uplifting sound, and though the lyrics seem religious if you watch the video on their YouTube channel it is making fun of Televangelists with their convulsive demon releasing touching. Funny stuff. "It's Too Late Baby" is enjoyable and is it's own unique song, and has a very interesting solo in it as well. "Wasted Feelings" is kind of like an 80's ballad of sorts, and kind of makes me think of the band The Darkness whom they toured with. "Freedom" has a Queen like solo, and some good guitar playing. Finally I really enjoyed "The Streets" it's and uplifting song, and it does have the feeling of older artists like Al Green, or War. Overall the album is interesting, and has it's ups and downs. More downs than I would have preferred as this is one of the few band's I've been enjoying from this generation, as we don't have many artist's that fill that void my classic rock heart desires. I will say there is some good guitar playing on this album with interesting solo's and the trumpet and piano also helps make these guys stand out. But a lot of it is just not where I would like it to be. If this album were lost or stolen, I'd not worry because it was an $8 digital download and if I had only a physical copy I'd probably just download what I enjoyed because the rest left me unsatisfied. Overall I give it a 7 because it wasn't "The Flamingo Trigger" again, and did have some tracks I enjoyed and I could feel some progression in their playing which could mean the next album will be amazing.