Matthew Lickona 11:49 p.m., Dec. 10
Here's to the Mourning
Hometown CD Review 5-12-05
Album name: Here's to the Mourning (2004)
"I went to heaven, couldn't get in, for what I had done / I said please take me, they said you're crazy, you had too much fun." The way Scott Russo delivers this line in "Save Me" is perhaps the only memorable thing on UL's latest.
This requiem about the tribulations of a pill-popping rock star is nowhere near intelligent when it comes to the lyricism, but it's insanely catchy. Russo's mawkishly sincere intonation in "Save Me" evokes memories of the band in their prime, when they weren't punk enough to be considered hardcore but still possessed enough of an edge to curb their now-standard poppy choruses. "I Like the Way" and "Slow Dance" continue in the power-pop tradition.
The disc opens and ends on high notes, with both "Get Up" and "Walrus" quick with the hooks and heavy on the pop-punk homogeneity. A good portion of the tracks are nearly indistinguishable from each other. The deepest lines in "Because of You" read, "And I feel the warmth in your touch / my ego trips / I can't get enough / that satisfaction / lies in your hands, girl / I wrote this song / so you'll understand." As evidenced here, the biggest downfall is a lack of complexity; lyrics are practically monosyllabic, and the songs all remain within the constraints of the standard three chords. Still, UL pulls it off well, with every song expertly executed in ostentatiously performed anthems that prove the group is talented at penning singles.
Though the punk intensity of their earlier days is gone, the band now has slick production. The mixture of layered guitars and vocals may not be as intense or passionate as previous releases, but it exposes another facet of UL's sound, however manufactured it may be.
2. Get Up
3. Celebration Song
4. Because of You
5. Lost Control
6. Save Me (Wakeup Call)
7. I Like the Way
8. Slow Dance
9. She Says
10. Rejections Cold