Album Reviews For Weezer, Pup, Hot Water Music, A Wilhelm Scream and Jack White
As April was an extremely busy month for us, as we had to prepare for a golf tournament and our first concert promotion, we weren’t able to get to as many album reviews as we wanted to.
We still listened to a LOT of music that came out, but there just wasn’t enough time in the day to write full on reviews for everything that came out.
So, in light of writing full reviews for every album, we are going to write 5 “mini-reviews” for albums we feel deserve some attention - one way or another.
March 18th, 2022
Hot Water Music - Feel The Void - 4.3 out of 5 stars - I have listened to a bit of Hot Water Music over the years, and I would say I was a pretty casual fan, but I always liked the music. Their new album hits pretty hard. This is a band with dueling vocalists where one is a lot harsher (Chuck Ragan) than the other (Chris Wollard), but it works pretty well.
I will say the single “Collect Your Things and Run” is about one of the absolute best Hot Water Music songs I have ever heard. The accompanying skate video really brings me back to the early 90’s when punk and skate were so hand-in-hand connected that every band had skate videos or were on skate compilations.
While I don’t like every song on the album equally, there are enough really good songs on here to keep you listening multiple times over.
March 20th, 2022
Weezer - SZNZ: Spring - 4.3 out of 5 stars - I love good Weezer. This is SO close to being good Weezer. So many great guitar riffs. A lot of great musicality. The lyrics are just not always fitting with the music though. Also, throwing all the weird instruments into the mix is something very few bands can get away with, and Weezer probably doesn’t get away with it here. There is a lot of “self-importance” shining through the music and lyrics that I could live without.
But this is probably the closest Weezer has come to albums like Maladroit or Ratitude in years. Not that all the albums have been bad lately or anything. It’s just a different sound than it used to be.
I would say “Angels On Vacation” is probably my least favorite song on the album just due to the verses. The chorus is actually pretty good. The grunge guitar of The Blue Album has finally made its way back to Weezer. Unfortunately, the band has been a successful rock band for 30 years now, and the lyrics and subject matter are not nearly as poignant for a vast majority of their fans anymore. So, that’s the only big disconnect for me.
Still, this is a MILLION times better than Van Weezer (which I wish could be aborted from their catalog). It’s not quite as good as OK Human in my opinion though.
April 1st, 2022
Pup - THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND - 4.5 out of 5 stars - I had never really gotten into Pup, and I was quite shocked that they had such a big following when I heard they were releasing this new album, but that said, I have nothing really bad to say about the album. I can hear a lot of anthemic rock put into some of the songs like “Totally Fine” and then other songs get a bit weird (like “Robot Writes A Love Song”), but overall, I think the album is actually pretty good.
I can see why they have a large following as they make popular sounding indie-rock music - maybe like a Canadian version of Jimmy Eat World or something - but it’s a little bit more on the quirky side which is cool in small doses.
Overall, I would say this was an album that made me rethink what I thought I knew about the band, and that is always a good thing.
April 8th, 2022
Jack White - Fear of the Dawn - 2.0 out of 5 stars - Jesus, I wish Jack White wasn’t so well loved by everyone in the world, because he would be seen for what he really is…a talented guy who tends to make some pretty bad music but every once in a while a really good song pops out of the bad.
To me, he is a pretty good guitarist that just makes simplistic anthemic songs that sound like bad versions of other good bands that already did it before him. The difference is he just makes it sound like he electrocutes those songs to make them thump a bit more or rock a little louder. Most of the time it can work too.
I am not on the “Jack White is a genius” bandwagon though. I think the music has to be really good to say something like that. I just don’t like many of the albums he puts out. I can barely get through the singles he puts out in any of his forms either.
His feuds and his attitude don’t help his cause for me either. Seemingly acting like he is a “purist” for blues rock, and then putting out this borderline trash of an album shows just how much he really can’t be given the moniker or hold any sort of title as a gatekeeper for any genre.
Throwing Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and sampling Cab Calloway onto the track “Hi-De-Ho” seems a lot more like cultural appropriation than honoring either artist in my opinion. It’s cheesy, it’s disconnected, and the song is not good. It reminds me of a really bad Gorillaz wannabe song.
The rest of the album doesn’t do itself any real favors, in my opinion either. I actually had to stop after about the 7th song the first time I listened to it, because it was just too much nonsense in a row to deal with.
The album as a whole is not good. There are a couple of decent songs towards the end of the album though ("That Was Then, This is Now" probably the best on the album).
Though I didn't like this album much, I will still listen to the next installment which is due out in July, but if it has the horseshit this album has on it (like throwing in Dub Step on “The White Raven”), you can just go ahead and bury White in his own grave of self-absorption. I haven’t heard anything this bad in a long time.
April 14th, 2022
A Wilhelm Scream - Lose Your Delusion - 4.4 out of 5 stars - I will say that I am not a dedicated fan or anything, but I can truly see how a lot of fans love this band. They remind me of a punk version of Taking Back Sunday. My only issue is that I am only a fan of about 75% of the songs. Some are just not to my liking. Too rough or whatever the case may be, I just think when the singing is clean and clear, the band is at top form, but the growling singing of Nuno Pereira is not my favorite in all situations.
I will say that the band NEEDS both singing styles to achieve their effect, and I don’t think Pereira has a bad voice by any means. It’s just not always my preferred style for punk/emo singing.
A good example of a good song on the album is actually the first song, “Acushnet Avenue At Night”, where both singers are at full harmonic ability. The flip side of that is “...And Big Nasty Was Its Name-O” which just reminds me of an old punk cover of a band like Black Flag or something. Can’t pin it down, but then it switches to full on emo-core at one point too. For me, it’s just a bit too all over the place to be rated much higher.
The album is still a lot of fun, VERY interesting to listen to, and I recommend it. Some songs are excellent in my opinion, but the album just has a crazy amount of inconsistencies. So, if you know that going in, you may enjoy it more. Without that knowledge, you may be thinking (as I did), “What’s going on from song to song here?”