Unwritten Law - Here's To The Mourning (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Unwritten Law

Here's To The Mourning (2005)


Here's To The Mourning doesn't have very many excuses it can fall back on. It's not the band's major label debut, or their sophomore effort, or the result of a serious member change (you can't honestly say the drummer was an integral part of the band's previous albums). No one went through a serious drug addiction phase (as far as the public knows), family members were in fact not dropping like flies, and there wasn't any life-altering terrorist attack on our country since their last album; so why, then, is Unwritten Law's newest offering so...bad?

While I'd love to blame perhaps Unwritten Law's three year idle period between proper albums (2003's Music In High Places was a made-for-MTV acoustic set that comprised mostly of material from Elva) or maybe the producers' lack of ranging experience with more punk-oriented bands (the big names across the "worked with" board are bascially Marilyn Manson and Staind), their newest album is simply hook-free yet radio-ready pop-rock with flat-out terrible songwriting and structure spread out across the 46-minute length of a compact disc.

It's bad enough the band pulls off mindboggling irony in the first five minutes; it's not very convincing when the words "get up get up get up" come across in a pathetically sedated, lackadaisically-sounding manner. In fact, strength of lyrical quality itself isn't very convincing when words like that come across at all. The trend continues from there on in with horrendously-narrated tales of crackwhores ("I like the way that she feels when she feels me" - "I Like The Way"), self-loathing ("I'm useless, lazy, perverted / you hate me" - lead single "Save Me," co-written by Christina Aguilera assistant Linda Perry), and what I'm guessing is a night on the town that doesn't end until dawn ("Slowdance, take a chance with me! / Dance with me, dance with me!", which comes from the torture that is "Hide Away").

The vocals have taken a turn for the worse especially. Loaded with constant effects, be it reverb, echo, or otherwise, and seemingly pushed back, they just sound lazy at times and forcefully raspy, whereas with all the band's other recordings, it seemed a lot more natural and flowed with the music nicely. Of course, I could say it flows with the music nicely here too, as artificial vocals help represent painfully calculated and topically-trite music.

Here's to the mourning of Unwritten Law.