Finger Eleven

Them Vs You Vs Me

Written by: PP on 06/03/2007 14:41:13

Canada's Finger Eleven acted as a stepping stone to harder music for countless individuals around the millenia-change with now-classic post-grunge albums like "Tip" and "Greyest Of Blue Skies". These albums combined heaviness of metallic bands into the catchiness of many alt rock bands of the time. Their previous album "Finger Eleven", didn't touch me as deeply as especially their sophomore one, which ultimately played a large part in shaping my musical preferences of today when thinking retrospectively. It was a turn to the more commercial, more calculated radio friendly pop rock that countless other bands from Nickelback to Default were pushing to the market at the time, and was missing the passion, the subdued aggression their earlier work had. There was no question that the band had evolved and the sound had become bigger, but music is one of those rare aspects of life where bigger does not necessarily equal better.

The same is true for their latest album "Them Vs You Vs Me", which many fans were eagerly waiting for in hopes for the band to take a u-turn in direction and return to their roots, re-introduce the heavier chords and the vocal experimentation of songs like "My Carousel" and "Drag You Down", which generated one of the most devoted fan-followings to date inside Canada, with rest of the world not far behind. But "Them Vs You Vs Me" shatters many of these dreams with lackluster ballads like "I'll Keep Your Memory Vague" and "Talking To The Walls", both of which safely cater to the wider audiences of remotely similar bands like Lifehouse and 3 Doors Down. While the latter and especially "Window Song" aren't bad songs by any means, they are much more spacey and were destined to be written by one of the previously mentioned bands and not Finger Eleven.

The first single "Paralyzer" is hardly the Finger Eleven many of us had wished for, because while the potential for a great song is definitely there, it is destroyed by the bouncy guitar riff and Scott's much more produced vocals. Finger Eleven was never supposed to sound bouncy and clean rather than raw and tight.

But not all hope is lost on occasions throughout the album. "Falling On" is fantastic, and even though here too Scott sounds slightly girly every now and then, the melody and the structure of the song is as vintage Finger Eleven as one could hope for, bringing back some of the tight instrumentation much of the album is missing. But you still can't expect passionate scratched singing nor out-of-this world melodies to capture you in the way "For The Ocean" or "Suffocate" did, simply because those characteristics just aren't there. The good tracks like "Lost My Way" and "Sense Of A Spark" sound more like recreations of "Bones And Joints", the softer track but only done much softer.

What once was the separating quality between Finger Eleven and the grey mass is now ironically the one common factor between them. The grey mass too has calm vocals, occasional acoustic-guitar backing, and risk-averse song structures, just like "Them Vs You Vs Me". It's hard to distinguish this album from so many others in the genre, and can most certainly be considered the weakest yet by the once so promising band. Maybe Scott & co have just grown up and the post-grunge movement died out long ago, but their fans, including myself, have not. When we expect innovation and originality, but are treated with the all too familiar major-label formula, we aren't going to be happy, and we will vote with our reviews and buying force.


Download: Falling On, Window Song
For the fans of: Lifehouse, 3 Doors Down, Our Lady Peace, Seether
Listen: Myspace

Release date 06.03.2007
Wind-up Records

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