Destroy All Monsters
I'm going to raise the rating of Eric's olo album to a must buy 90. It's only 2 points from my original review of the Japanese release a couple of months back.|
But with the benefit of hindsight and more listening time, I believe the album deserves that push to 90.
It turns out that Destroy All Monsters is actually more musically consistent than it's predecessor, with a common thread throughout all songs and given time and an open mind, it has more to offer under the surface than first realized.
That all said, my initial review was still very positive and I still agree with everything that was written. This is a more modern styled pop record, but it remains very melodic and very catchy and the style of delivery suits the tone of the album.
I still prefer I'm Goin' Sane as an album and a musical direction, but this is another fine addition to the Eric Martin solo catalogue and is therefore a must buy for fans.
Eric's new solo album comes only 12 months after his last which is a very short time considering the time between past solo albums.
I'm enthusiastic that the former Mr. Big singer is on a solo roll. The I'm Goin' Sane album was the beginning of a change in direction for Eric. It was an album with an updated feel and a modern rock faηade. But the album retained a melodic rock heart, even if it was in a more aggressive form.
The album was part nu-breed, part modern rock and partly drew on Eric's own distinct sound.
Destroy All Monsters uses the sound of I'm Goin' Sane as its launching pad, but is further removed from Eric's past. This album signals the singer's intentions to move in an even more contemporary direction.
There are a number of points one can make about the new album.
The sound is far more stripped back and a lot rawer than the last album. It seems to have been very simply recorded it has a definite live feel to it.
The aggression of I'm Goin' Sane is also gone this is a little more laid back. And it's definitely more pop than ever before.
The songs are also simpler. They too have been stripped of any unnecessary padding. There are no big overdubs or special effects and the structure of the songs is uncomplicated.
Essentially these are pop songs delivered with a guitar fuelled enthusiasm. Distorted pop as Eric calls it. What portion of Eric's traditional fan base will want to move forward with him?
As far as song quality Eric has a unique talent that is rivaled by few other songwriters/performers. For these songs as simple as they are remain catchy and memorable. But I did find the hooks and choruses harder to find this time around.
You really have to work hard to get to know the songs, but once you do, you are rewarded with some great hooks. A few of the songs don't work as well as others. Personal taste will determine that for each listener.
I just don't think the choruses are as strong as the last album and there is certainly a lack of any big anthems like Goin' Sane or Untouchable.
Track By Track:
What's The Worst That Could Happen opens the album. It's a familiar sound for those that enjoyed the last album, as it's one of the closest tracks to the lighter moments featured on that. Immediately Eric employs some great vocal hooks in the verse and the chorus is instantly infectious.
Kansas is very modern pop. Stripped back and simple in its delivery, it reminds me of the first Rubber album. I'd prefer something heavier, but the song does have its charms especially in the chorus, which is seamlessly entwined into the song itself and is over just as you realize it started.
I Woke Up Too Late is a slightly harder edged track which is more in tone with the last album and features a cool lead guitar riff. This is another album favourite and has a bound-along feel good guitar and drum beat driven chorus. An album highlight.
Janie Won't Open is a darker, mid-tempo modern rock track that is really rather catchy. This is one of the sleepers on the album getting better with each listen. It's that quality of songwriting that comes through, even when you are not sold on the style of the delivery.
Where Are You continues the dark modern pop vein of the last track and that of Kansas. The chorus is fairly laid back and doesn't grab me just a little too slow.
You're Too Good For Him is an album highlight. This falls back to Eric's well known love of acoustic driven tracks. This ballad features some beautiful lyrics and has a haunting quality and a smooth vocal that should hook the listener first time around.
Living In Back And White continues the laid back theme of the last few tracks. It starts as a slow rock track, but changes to an acoustic chorus which in contrast to the verse, is very smooth and very memorable.
It's definitely time to rock again and Something There does just that. This is an uptempo pop/rocker with a feel good heart, just like the opening track. The chorus is also one of the better on the album.
What If is a short nu-breed/Rubber style modern punk rocker with a brief chorus and a more aggressive feel. I Can Die Now has an also reggae beat, as the song swaggers along in a rather laid back fashion. It has a relatively catchy vocal hook, but I'm not sold on the song alone.
Burnin' In My Mind is a cool track. It's a good uptempo rocker with a distinct chorus that will please long time fans of Eric's.
If is another uptempo nu-breed punk rocker that features some strong vocals, but no defined chorus as such. Not a band track to close the album though the tempo and strong vocal are certainly attractive features.
It features some more great songs and plenty of melodies, but they require a little more playback before their charms are revealed. Some fans aren't going to warm to the latest style. But Eric might in turn, find some new fans.
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