Sound — 10
Of course, Markku left to leave open the bass spot, but don't let that disappoint you if you are a Hoobastank fan. Most certainly more than a trio, this album captures a lot more elements than their previous albums. Using horns, flutes, and occasional guitar solos, most fan's of music in general should be able to appreciate this album. It's definately different, but I found it didn't take very long to get used to like most albums do. Overall, all the songs sound very complete and the complete opposite of what most would call "rushed". Slightly poppy but more melodic, it's a pleasant change.
Lyrics — 9
Many people have drastically different opinions on the singer Doug. The most sparking comment I hear is that he is ok on CD but horrible live. Personally, I have seen them live and I thought he sang great other than the poor EQ from where I was at (too much treble). He's even better on CD in my opinion and this album is not any different. He's broadened into a better choice of lyrics, regardless of what he's trying to say. With this, it seems to flow a tad bit less than previous albums but still an awesome effort.
Overall Impression — 10
This is definately their most solid album and I'm sure they have a lot left under their belt as long as everything works out. So far, I don't have any favorites from the album considering they're all pretty unique but fall together. I love it's change toward a more progressive and skilled style while keeping it catchy. If you're the slightest fan of Hoobastank, definately give this one a try.