Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Long criticized by reviewers for sticking too strictly to the rules of punk-rock and for wavering between being strongly influenced and plagiarizing, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is trying its hand at a new album after its 2006 release, Don’t You Fake It
, went platinum, a fact that seemed to surprise everyone, including the band.
Unfortunately, Lonely Road
offers no redemption of reputation. The Jacksonville, Fla. quintet’s ingenuity has not moved past the naming of its group, crafted by three random words. The album, which came out on Tuesday, begins with the threatening single, “You Better Pray.” The song introduces lead vocalist Ronnie Winter’s unnecessarily long-winded wails, reminiscent of the howls of Hawthorne Heights.
Immediately after this opening mistake comes “No Spell,” a catchy, poppy tune that doesn’t exhibit any extraordinary characteristics.
“Pen and Paper” briefly breaks the trend and brings back the voice of Fake It’s “Face Down” as Winter fittingly belts out, “This whole routine is getting old / So am I, and so are you / My reputation lets me know.” Maintaining a dulcet tone and rhythm throughout the song, the track ends suitably with, “And when the curtain drops down / You’ll be replaced / By something typical.”
As the lyrics suggest, the following songs revert back to the typical copycat trend that kicked off the album. However, a noticeable improvement progresses from the opener. Songs such as “Pull Me Back” and “Pleads and Postcards” may sound like they could have come off a Taking Back Sunday album, but they hold a toe-tapping quality that makes them memorable.
Although no blunder on the album can be as harsh as choosing “You Better Pray” as a first track, the last tune, “Godspeed,” gets pretty close. The style is similar to the band’s only other popular song, “Your Guardian Angel,” but the true emotion of “Angel” is absent. An awkward historical ballad about war and how death affects those involved, the song is backed by a militaristic march that makes it sound cheesy rather than creative.
Despite the rare shining lights such as “Pen and Paper” and “Represent,” Red Jumpsuit Apparatus fails to deliver with the album as a whole. For a band who has toured with big names like Rise Against and who studied music theory by doing cover songs of classic alt-rockers blink-182, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus is still traveling down a road completely separate from its influential predecessors.
— Contact Alice Chen