Sound — 8
The new sound is pretty killer. I am digging the throwback to classic rock with "Puppet Strings," "Yeah!," "Headache," and especially "Hey Mama." It fuses classic/blues roots with modern rock and it wins all the way. New guitarist Andy Andersson totally rips some sweet solos and really adds a nice flavor to the mix. One complaint, although pretty cool, Andy abuses one lick in particular in literally four solos (if you listen you will know which I mean). The bass is solid, no complaints but I feel that the drums were lost a little in the final mix.
Lyrics — 8
Let's just start with saying how thrilled I am to have Brett Scallions back as the frontman for Fuel. I have been waiting for this for too many years! Having said that, he does a decent job in his return. The raspy growl is mostly gone (which I loved) so he actually has to sing some of the high notes this time around. He does an impressive throughout the entire album and some of his other signature sounds can still heard. One exception is "I Can See the Sun" for I feel that the higher notes in the chorus are a little bit of a stretch. Overall I think his singing kicks some ass once again.
The lyrics are decent, nothing too profound going on here. "Soul to Preach To," "Wander," and "What We Can Never Have" are the standouts. This is an in your face rock record for the most part, saving the sentiments for the select slower songs.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is refreshing and ass kicking. It jams, it grooves, it rocks, and it feels. Brett Scallions is back and it never felt so right. The new band members do a fantastic job in the meshing of new sounds and this album really jumps out and rocks you. My favorite tracks thus far are "Soul to Preach To," "Cold Summer," and "Hey Mama." I believe this could be their second greatest album, only behind "Something Like Human," in my opinion. I really dig this new sound that they have going yet they still manage to preserve some classic Fuel sounds. I am looking forward to more music from these guys.