Sound — 7
First and foremost, I want to address the critics out there who will say this band peaked in 2002 and have been going downhill ever since. I agree with you. So I was not expecting much from this album at all. Hearing the first two singles, Nothing and Badass, it again sounded like another lazy attempt from a band that is stuck in its ways. But, listening to the full album it's now clear this is definitely something different from them, unfortunately they just put out the two weakest tracks from the album as singles...real clever guys. Bring Grammy Award Winning producer Howard Benson on board has certainly given Saliva a new boost of creative energy, and shifted them more towards the likes of 3 Doors Down in terms of genre. By no means have they lost any bite, as can be heard on Get Out Alive and Burn It Up, which see Saliva powering through with a new force. Get Out Alive especially, as I see this being one of the stand out tracks on the album. It's heavy, but the chorus is something new for them and not what I was expecting, which believe me is a good thing. It's definitely one of the most up-tempo choruses they have written and it works. My only criticism is that there are several mellow ballads on the album, 4 actually, which I think stops the album from properly gathering memento. Out of the 4, Never Let You Go and Turn The Lights Up are probably the ones worth mentioning. They hark back to the 'Rest In Pieces' days, and unlike the other ballads there is a raw genuine element on the songs and although they're bound to be used on every teen chick flick for the next 5 years, they're definitely solid songs as far as ballads go. Is this album radical? No. Is this album likely to get amazing reviews? No. But, for the first time since Back Into Your System the band has shown it still has the ability to write songs that are designed for music fans and not sports fans.
Lyrics — 8
Josey Scott, much like the band in general, peaked on Back Into Your System with songs like Separated Self, but since his admitted withdrawal from drink and drugs his lyrics have become predictable and very clichd, no much more so than Cinco Diable, an album we all wish would go away. But there is a marked improvement on this album, there are still moments where you know what he's going to say before he says it, but it is much better than than their previous 2 albums. What stands out on this album is his voice, which without a doubt sounds better than it ever has. His range, power, and timbre really shines through. There has also been a marked improvement in his melody's, which are in places some of the best we've heard in 9 years, such as Prove Me Wrong, which when combined with the synth and uplifting guitar really give a totally new dynamic. Although lyrically this is about a 6-7, the massive step up in vocal performance pushes this up to an 8. And for those wanting to know, no, there are no 'booms' in this album.
Overall Impression — 7
This is without a doubt the most convincing release Saliva has put out since 2002. It's not perfect, and it's not likely to be enough for those critics who gave up on Saliva years ago, but for existing Saliva fans who have had to deal with a massive downturn in quality and originality, this goes some way to making up for it. There are those that will say this album is too different from the likes of 'Click Click Boom' and 'Ladies And Gentlemen', and not heavy enough. But the simple fact is this band have grown up and moved on, so maybe you should to?