Alien Ant Farm - Always and Forever (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Alien Ant Farm

Always and Forever (2015)

Executive Music / The End Reco

"Smooth Criminal" by Alien Ant Farm is one of the best covers, in any genre. Period. Fuckin' killed. But let's be honest, AAF didn't stand up well to the test of time, as did so many others from my high-school era. That doesn't mean I wouldn't take Always and Forever seriously because it's a flagrant disrespect not to. That said, we all know what we're getting into when we jump into a record from a band that seemed to be a one-hit wonder from back in the day. How does this record pan out though? Well, exactly...50/50.

First off, it's apparent that the well-worn novelty they held back in the day is gone. AAF are clearly trying to find their footing here and to their credit, they shell out some catchy, grounded tunes. "Burning" for it's pop-worth indicate they are exactly right where I expect them to be. Simple and quirky rock. Same can be said for "Homage" - anthemic nods to the likes of Pink Floyd and The Pixies (lyric-wise, at least). And it's in tracks like these you can take delight and smile. To go one (and I literally better, you have a beautifully measured and well-reasoned opener in "Yellow Pages" with edgy, cutting pop-punk guitars. Now, this is where the problem lies. AAF spread all their goodies out over these tracks with the rest of the album lacking energy. Sad to say, the other tracks feel drab and don't translate well at all.

"Godlike" in the latter stages tries to skirt things around with a dirtier '90s rock attitude and it's most appreciated but does feel like it comes too little too late. Even the bass-led "Dirty Bomb" helps salvage things a bit but overall, most songs lack depth, personality and you don't feel too enthused. I think a big mistake was not adopting a straight-up hard rock stance to some more tracks because when AAF amp it up, they do pretty well. But at the end of the day, it's still nice to hear them alive and kickin' and with The End also putting out Everclear this spring, I'll be sure to keep my ear to the ground. I'm rooting strongly for the bands I grew up on on MTV and VH1. Hopefully, my faith will be repaid.