Sound — 9
This album is modern classic rock. Simple as that. The sleazy Guns N Roses tone has almost gone and in it's place is a clean band intent on making a good rock n roll record. The sound I thought at first was a bit basic for a band of this calibre, and sounded way more stripped down than the previous release "Contraband". However after a few listens the album opens up and you can clearly hear new sounds that VR had never done before. The bassline in the solo of "Let It Roll" is different and sounds slapped or has a pedal going on for example, which duff rarely did previously. Slash's sig tone has gone but the new one blends beautifully into the album. His soloing is sublime yet nothing is quite as epic and soaring as anything off Appetite for Destruction. Dave's Rhythm guitar is tighter than ever, and riff's along a bit more. Matt's drumming has come to the front a bit more, and a lot of the albums tracks have drum led intros. However this band is now a unit, not just Guns and Roses, Weiland and some punk guitarist. The album shows this and sounds much more co ordinated and dare I say it, mature.
Lyrics — 6
Lyrics have never really been Weilands strongpoint. He does however bring his personal experiences to the lyrics. "Mary Mary" for example goes over his marriage problems with his wife Mary. For a Brothers title sums the song up, as it is written about his brothers struggle with addiction, as is "Pills, Demons Etc". Other times you find it hard to understand what the heck he's talking about such as in songs such as "She Builds Quick Machines". His lyrics can get repetative such as in "American Man" (freedom mentioned about 5 times and "yes I am the american man" repeated constantly) and "Let it roll". However no matter how ropey his lyrics are, no one can deny Weiland sounds immaculate on this album and shows he has a great voice which has great range. Songs he excels on are "Let it roll" and "The Last Fight". However for most VR fans, it is about the music rather than the lyrics.
Overall Impression — 8
The album is definatly more classic rock than contraband, and the dirty cigarette smoking, Jack Daniels drinking hard rock is almost gone. I'd say it is more like Stone Temple Pilots than Guns N Roses, but to me the ballads reflect Pink floyd just a touch, and the whole album has more of a groove to it. 01. Let It Roll - excellent opener. Cool Riff leads you in straight from the start and the pace doesn't drop through a memorable slash solo and out of the other side again. 02. She Mine - catchy chorus, would make a good single but I think is a bit ordinary and the song would happily stand on it's own. I'm not a fan of this track. 03. Get Out The Door - again, catchy chorus. A bit slower than your average VR song and it typifies the new sound. Not one of my favourites but it won't dissappoint. 04. She Builds Quick Machines - lead single, I think it's excellent. It has a big riff, Memorable solo. Would fit on contraband and is an excellent bridge for the gap. 05. The Last Fight - lyrically the best song on the album, but I think even for a ballad it is a bit tame. It just chugs uninnovativly. Not a big fan of this track and it's not a patch on Fall to pieces. However, great lyrics. 06. Pills, Demons Etc - this is where VR enter new territory. The riff is a Wah driven funk fest, underpinned by a grooving bassline. The solo fits well and has a catchy chorus. 07. American Man - despite the simple lyrics I think this song is great. Duff's walking bassline is brilliant and works well with Matts drums. The solo in this song fits so well it's unreal. 08. Mary Mary - this for me sounds too similar to American man and pills demons. However the riff is big and the solo volatile. Not a bad song, just too similar. 09. Just Sixteen - the lyrics are dirty and the song has a more sleazy tone. Singable Chorus and great solo. Fits Well 10. Can't Get It Out Of My Head - I think is weaker than the last fight. Good cover but doesn't do anything for me. 11. For A Brother - this is filler, but like the others has a catchy singable chorus. Nothing more to say. 12. Spay - this could fit on contraband easily. I have a feeling that this could be the third single, as it could be played on the radio easily. Again not the best track on the album but good. 13. Gravedancer - best of the 3 Ballads, Slash solo's well and Weilands vocals are great. Would be a great end to the album but. 14. Don't Drop That Dime - a country track, which is done very well and is very catchy. I think slash solo's on a banjo and it's sounds brilliant. it's very funny, and shows diversity. If I lost it, which I have, I wouldn't buy it again, but then it's on my PC and ipod so who needs to. If I only had a CD player I would. Overall this is step in the right direction for VR, and musically they are in top form. Here's to the next one.