311

Ster30l1th1c

Written by: PP on 31/03/2014 21:41:53

Beach rockers 311 have reached their eleventh album with "Ster30l1th1c", and apparently still think it's cool to replace letters with numbers in their stylization of the album title "Stereolithic". I somehow failed to detect the release of "Universal Pulse" three years ago, so it's been five years since my previous encounter with the group. That was with "Uplifter", a return-to-form album with sublime reggae-based alternative rock songs ideal for sipping your piña coladas underneath palm trees on some tropical island, as I wrote back then. It was a refreshing album that reminded us that blending nu-metal crunch, reggae vibes, and catchy pop choruses is still a thing that can be done gracefully even in the 00s.

To expect anything different sound wise on "Stereolithic" wouldn't make any sense. Their funky, über chilled-out beach rock is still flourishing throughout the record, albeit it is showing its wear and tear as the album progresses. There are certainly moments where it feels like "where have I heard this before? Oh right, on every single 311 album", and while I'm usually the first one to appreciate that, their sound simply isn't fresh enough, so it sounds dated instead. Listening to the rap rock verses of "The Great Divide" is an excellent example of that, and at 16 songs, the album also feels unnecessarily long.

It's not all bad, of course, because 311 have always ranked among the best at creating the most relaxed vibes and painted landscapes of worry-free beach environments through their sound. That is still very much the case here; popping on "Ebb And Flow" or "Sand Dollars" recalls their 90s era, although there certainly aren't any "Amber" or "Champagne" styled headline tracks on this album. Ultimately, that is the biggest problem with "Stereolithic". It has plenty of decent, upbeat funk rock tracks with a few throwbacks to the nu-metal era, but few, if any, tracks that truly stand out and carry the album's weight on their shoulders. When at the same time you have a number of tracks that ooze of the 90s in the wrong manner dragging you down (just like the stylization of the title), the end result is an unimpressive album that fails to match against their best releases. It's not a bad record, per se, just a somewhat bland and predictable one.

6

Download: Ebb And Flow, Revelation Of The Year, Sand Dollars, Make It Rough
For the fans of: Incubus, Pepper, Sublime
Listen: Facebook

Release date 11.03.2014
311 Records

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