Original release date: April 1st, 2008
By the time a band’s eighth full-length studio album rolls around, it’s usually less a case of wondering what it will sound like and more a matter of whether it will live up to previous releases. No Use For A Name are no exception to the rule, and this album finds them continuing to deliver the trademark melodic skate punk that the band’s various lineups have honed over the past 20-odd years. The good news for fans is that they’re pretty much at the top of their game, bouncing back into form after 2005’s disappointing Keep Them Confused.
Biggest Lie breaks the ice with an incredible pace and is loaded with guitar solos; Pacific Standard Time, The Dregs Of Sobriety and I Want To Be Wrong are likewise full of rapid drums, big guitar melodies and vocal harmonies. Although the formula grows stale on a couple of track, for instance Under The Garden, variety comes with the memorably choppy Domino, rhythm-driven The Trumpet Player, and restrained Yours To Destroy.
However, it’s the acoustic Sleeping Between Trucks and jangly Kill The Rich (which both recall singer/guitarist Tony Sly’s solo split with Lagwagon’s Joey Cape) and the genuinely surprising piano ballad Ontario that most successfully rejuvenate the record and make it a pleasure to keep listening. The presence of such well-written diversions just makes the skate punk energy of tracks like the addictive The Feel Good Song of The Year shine all the brighter.
Sly’s vocal delivery has been a weakness to me in the past, sometimes sounding more focussed on harmony than passion. But I may be in the minority there, and in any case the songs and performances on offer here are strong enough to redeem him.