Sound — 4
Punk-rock band Mest has been playing together for almost ten years. "Photographs," out on Maverick October 2005, is their fifth album together. 12 radio-friendly tracks were produced by Goldfinger's John Feldmann and with his help Mest got the hang of new features, very popular in punk -- ska-punk. The record has a handful of whiny emo-punk anthems, every each one of those is a potential soundtrack for a teen comedy and a couple of hollow ballads (also very promising tracks for the scenes of having the first sex in the car). Tony Lovato is honestly trying to imitate bad-ass guitar playing on the record. Most of his attempts though are hidden under the layer of reverbs and different effects. I used to like drumwork on ounk albums, but I was disappointed with this one as I didn't find any drum solo worth listening to, even no fast drumming. The opener "Take Me Away (Cried Out To Heaven)" is quite a good start for the record and one of the highlights with ska rhythm. The song is the only bright track on the record. After that the band sinks the listener in the "dark world," that became a popular trend among punk bands lately. "Kiss Me, Kill Me," the first single from the album, is a song with cheesy '80s beat. Title track "Photographs" has a good comparison -- photographs as memories and feelings. When I got to the forth song on the album "Cursed" and heard "...well you'd be better off dead," I was like "Hell, yeah! Exactly! I'd rather be dead, than being tortured to listen to the end of the record." The album is very mediocre. Well, punk-rock has never been a highly sophisticated type of music.
Lyrics — 3
I guess the band has a hard time when it comes to writing lyrics. Cheesy rhyme [Kiss me (you're all I'm wanting)/Kill me (this feeling's haunting)] if ever some (As he laid there, his life flashed in front of him/He wonders if he can take back some of his past/As he looks back on everything; he's got so much, he feels there's something missing). I mean, are they just singing about whatever comes to their minds? Now, when the guys wrote all possible songs about unrequited teenage love, about shitty living and whatever else bothers you, being a teenager, now Mest seems lost in what to write lyrics about. As a result, songs turn out to be about something vague and you can only guess what they wanted to tell you about. Most songs have slushy lyrics in the versus and primitive choruses -- a cliche-phrase [like "Run Away" or "Kiss Me, Kill Me" (hold me, thrill me?)] and some rambling in between. After the song ends, you just wonder what the song was about, 'cause it doesn't leave a slightest impression. I appreciate Tony Lovato's ability to sings light falsetto as one of very few entertainments here. Other than that, his nasal voice is mediocre if not to say tedious.
Overall Impression — 4
The CD is predictably boring -- 12 three-chord songs, 10 fast and 2 ballads -- one in the middle and another towards the end of the record. Simple choruses with two words that stuck in your head is a proven way to make the song primitively catchy. Considering all the primitivity of "Photographs," it's probably set to be a collection of songs for dummies. Plus the songs are faceless and there's a lack of variation in guitar hooks and riffs. Trying to save the album from sounding boring, the producer put as much effort in this record as he possibly could. Thus the album turned out to be overproduced -- overcompressed, techno reverbs, echoes, endless guitar effects. There are a lot of punk-rock bands playing now -- they cover themselves in tattoos, sing with a boring voice about blood, tell in two words (as much as radio-friendly versus can fit) details of killing someone, hoping to shock the listener (guys, I've just read an article about some cannibals, eating soup of babies, that are 2 days old, with pictures! Need a link?), make records that hardly ever differ one from another and from their punk-rock colleagues. So, here's another punk album from another punk band just like that.