Sound — 5
Theory is a Canadian outfit which is famous for it's rock songs written in the beginning of 2010's. Since that time they have moved to a solid two year cycle of releasing albums which have tendency to become platinum in Canada. Now they are back with the new (actually the sixth) one. They've trimmed their name — right now it's only "Theory" not "Theory of a Deadman". "Wake Up Call" also sounds pretty ambitious in terms of album names. And if we speak about music — yes, it's definitely a step away from their previous 2014's effort "Savages". So changes are here and we can hear them everywhere — from the very first track and throughout the record. It's a much softer and smoother work then their previous ones. The title track "Wake Up Call" with all that pianos and vocal delivery that reminds us a bit about "Santa Monica" (one of their best singles) is really the most interesting that you can hear on the album. "PCH" is a disco driven song which sounds simply boring. Even the whistling melody in the beginning doesn't help. "Glass Jaw" is a rocking yet poppy song about aggression and failed attempt to build a serious relationships. Chris Isaak's cover "Wicked Game" (which is the album-closer) gives us a good feeling but with all that we've heard before it's definitely not a game-changer.
Lyrics — 6
At least the words are better then the dramatic change of musical style. At first we need to mention "Rx (Medicate)" which is dedicated to health problems of contemporary America. Here is what Tyler Collony said about that track:
"I really wanted to discuss how messed up America is with this prescription drug thing. When I got divorced, I went and saw a therapist and the first thing she said was, 'I want to put you on some Beta blockers or some sort of anti-depressant stuff' and I'm like, 'No! No Way! What? How is that the first thing you want to do?' I just feel like something's wrong and I felt like the song needed to be written and people needed to hear it. It seems like every week something terrible is happening. I mean, Chris Cornell...and when we shot the video for it all these directors we talked to were like, 'Oh yeah, I had a huge prescription drug problem, so this hits home' and all that stuff. So it's a really important song and I'm so happy we get to release it first."
"Wake Up Call" tells us a story of a tired man who has lost his true love and while the music is not that emotional the lyrics are. It's a detailed take on the protoganist's painful life.
"Not long ago
You were laying right here
And the blue light flickered
Now you’re checkin’ out
And I’m missin’ you
The smell of cigarettes
Is takin’ over for the pain in my chest"
The feeling of loss can be clearly heard throughout "Wake Up Call". For example on "Echoes":
"You were there, now you're gone
Big mistake, how do I move on?"
Frank and detailed, the lyrics here are good and somehow poetic.
Overall Impression — 5
It's hard to release chart topping albums for 15 years in a row and not to fall into the deep waters of experimental stuff. "Wake Up Call" is a big leap into a new territory. It feels weaker then it's predecessors yet more meaningful. We can not say for sure what will happen to the band in the coming years but anyway it will be exciting to watch. From now on — only "Theory" we wish you a hard-rocking future.