Written by: TL on 13/04/2012 11:42:07

It's weird to think that it's been 15 years since the foundations for Lostprophets were laid, and even 12 years since the Welsh sixtet broke through with their debut LP "Thefakesoundofprogress" and pretty much single-handedly put more hard-edged Welsh rock music on the modern map, paving the way for bands like Funeral For A Friend, Bullet For My Valentine and Kids In Glass Houses, who have since become their own pillars in British rock. For the Welsh alternative scene, it seems the ball got rolling with singer Ian Watkins, bassist Stuart Richardson and guitarists Lee Gaze and Mike Lewis, the core of the band who have stuck together through various constellations of drummers and keyboardists and who are now ready with the band's fifth studio album "Weapons".

Listening carefully to "Weapons" it's possible to find plenty of proof that by now, Watkins and the gang are veterans at what they do, which is listener-friendly arena rock with hints of rebellious themes suggesting an edge to the band's personality. Current electronics man Jamie Oliver proves adept at adding subtle yet tasty effects and with Watkins regularly providing a cheeky, catchy turn of phrase, the average song on "Weapons" have turned out instantly enjoyable and recognizable. Highlights "We Bring An Arsenal", "Another Shot" and "A Song From Where I'm From" are examples of rock songs written according to perfect pop formula, and hence have choruses that move into your brain almost immediately.

Yet in spite of these merits, I don't think "Weapons" is a particularly fantastic or - to be frank - very interesting record at all, because underneath the clever effects and consistent hooks there seems to hide a profound void of substance. The guitar work sounds tired and by now, Watkins raging against hypocrisy and reflecting on the constraints of small town living is beginning to sound like a routine he can dish out without even trying. Put simply; The 'Prophets clearly have the skill and experience to dish out effective tunes, but this record looks, sounds and feels like they left their hearts out of it this time and just made an album on autopilot because they needed one to keep their career going.

It could be it's just me being weird, but I can't shake the feeling that while my analytical mind is making observations on the band's proficiency left and right as I listen through the album, my instincts and my heart are telling me that the end product still sounds contrived and empty. It's like you're listening to a record which you know is pretty good, and still all you really want is to take it off and put on something that sounds more enthusiastic, more genuine. Thinking about it, you don't have to look far to find young British bands like Kids In Glass Houses and Young Guns snapping at LP's heels and playing with more audible conviction, and with "Weapons" LP have made a record that, more than anything else, seems to say "we're not sure we have it in us any more" - A record of the type that is only as instantly catchy as it is instantly forgettable.

Download: We Bring An Arsenal, Another Shot, A Song For Where I'm From
For The Fans Of: Kids In Glass Houses, My Chemical Romance, Madina Lake
Listen: facebook.com/lostprophets

Release Date 02.04.2012

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