The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus


Written by: PP on 20/09/2014 16:16:59

After two catastrophic albums "Am I The Enemy" and "Lonely Road", The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus begun showing signs of revitalization on "Et Tu, Brute?" EP last year which all but abandoned the commercial and overproduced alternative rock style that they toyed with on those albums. Back was the screaming and the post-hardcore ambitions of their brilliant debut album "Don't You Fake It", minus the nu-metal hints that the 2006 record dabbled with. "4", their fourth studio album, is basically a continuation of the EP in that sense. It's not "Don't You Fake It" part two, but it's very clear that the band have set out to write a record more in the vein of that album than anything else. The problem with that? Most of their fan base interested in that material have pretty much written them off by now as irrelevant has-beens with nothing to offer for the modern music enthusiast.

So with an uphill battle like that, the band make it very clear from the onset that they mean business with "Grimm 2.0" opening the album. This is a nine minute mammoth, an ambitious, orchestrally backed track that basically takes us through all sorts of TRJA soundscapes that we've ran across in the past. There are the huge, anthemic sections, chaotic screams, tempo changes, and much more in a track that takes its cues from the theatrical post-hardcore by Chiodos and later Senses Fail albums. It's a great track and one that underlines TRJA's songwriting talent once more - which makes sense considering it is actually a sequel to the song "The Grim Goodbye" from the debut album. It also hints at how the rest of the album will sound like: plenty more screaming, aggressive tempo, better riffs, and a generally huge soundscape that doesn't feel as artificially inflated as "Lonely Road" did, for example. You'll run into echoing gang woohoos, introspective and emotive lyrical passages with heavy content, and overall just better songwriting.

That said, there are still songs like "California" that are distinctly poppy in their nature. Here we are approaching "Am I The Enemy?"-era material, but fortunately this sort of glossy, boring pop rock is largely avoided in favour of the more driving, angsty songs like "Not My Style". "Other Side" is a more balladic emo track recalling the slower material from the debut, but it works because it's catchy. "Who Do You Work For?" is again a throwback to 2006, with tapped riffing and fast paced riffage giving the track a punk vibe whilst still staying within the emo/post-hardcore platform overall.

But while that is an advantage for the band, it is ultimately also the biggest pitfall of the album. Basically, it sounds very, very dated in its expression. This type of angsty emo has long since fallen out of favour with critics and fans alike, so it really feels like TRJA are looking back in retrospect searching for that intense connection they had on their first album to their audience, but never fully capture it. It leaves us with a decent album but not much more than that.


Download: Grimm 2.0, Other Side, California
For the fans of: Emery, Greeley Estates, Chiodos, A Heartwell Ending, Senses Fail
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.07.2014

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