Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN - 13/3
Written by: PP on 18/10/2016 23:17:39
On their third album "Wasted Mind", Direct Hit! take a conscious, but a careful step forward as musicians and in production value, making sure not to alienate their core fans while expanding their sound ever-so-slightly to appeal to new audiences, especially those outside of the no-frills pop punk genre. Armed with a cleaner sound, some of the dark grit of masterpiece "Brainless God" is lost in the process, in turn, replaced by a more far-reaching, arguably more mainstream-leaning sound than ever before heard from the band in the past. Yes, the record still starts with the now-classic "FUCK YOU, GET PUMPED!" shouts, and the band does explore hardcore tinged vocals on a number of occasions, but we're dealing with a distinctly more mature effort this time around, where saxophones and modern Against Me! influence contest for time against their traditional no-frills pop-punk tunes.
Is that for the better? Well, yes and no. Songs like "Promised Land" - note the "New Wave" era Against Me! influence here - will push the band forward to new heights given their easily-accessible nature, but it comes at a cost of the maddeningly catchy, darkened pop punk melody godhood of songs like "Buried Alive" or "White Robes" from the predecessor, although "Bleach Music" and "Was It The Acid?" certainly come close. The saxophones are measured and subtle at all times, yet they do come across slightly odd in the Direct Hit! soundscape given its straight up pop punk foundations.
Still, these are just minor gripes about what is otherwise a fairly awesome record. They still write anthemic tunes like "Hospital For Heroes", and the bouncy, up-then-down soundscape of "Infinite Pills, Infinite Alcohol" is just rowdy, especially when complemented by the sailor-style accordion melodies on the background. Does the record lack roughened edges compared to "Brainless God"? Yes. That's also partially why it doesn't immediately strike you as infectiously catchy because the bright melodies aren't as readily contrasted and thus highlighted by aggressive screams and all that. It's not that the record lacks tempo - most songs are uptempo and keep the pace in line with previous Direct Hit! albums - but something's missing for the undersigned. Even the drugs concept doesn't do the trick. In the end, without being able to pinpoint exactly why, "Wasted Mind" leaves behind a good, but all-too-hazy impression compared to its predecessor. Despite being consistent, it is perhaps too much so, missing the big hit or two that'd push it over the edge from being a solid album into being a great one.
Download: Forced To Sleep, Bleach Music, Hospital For Heroes, Was it The Acid?
For the fans of: Against Me!, The Dopamines, Off With Their Heads
Release date 24.06.2016
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