A.R.E. Weapons - Free in the Streets (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

A.R.E. Weapons

Free in the Streets (2005)

Defend Music

Who gave this the green light? Who? Who said in their leather chair, feet on their cherry wood desk, and said, "I bet this album will be a tremendous success?" That person is a fool.

If one was to mix the worst parts of electroclash, along with some real proto-punk aping, they'd come up with something very similar to Free in the Streets. The problem with this assessment is that the singer is lacking an element imperative to the latter style of music he's ripping: Charisma. He's got absolutely none to speak of, and boy is that ever made obvious. "Last Cigarette" has singer Brian McPeck trying his damndest to be Ian Curtis, but the soulless sounding vocals come across as anything but. Curtis had a very distinct style, that at first listen sounds monotone, but upon further inspection it's quite evident the emotion there; here though, nothing. Each line is just another hollow, vapid reason to give the horrible lyrics an audible sound.

These lyrics, if they can be called that, range from cliché metal imagery to the utterly ridiculous. Themes range from being, or relating to a dog, to the blood of an animal corpse and damnation, along with that whole nine yards. I'm not even sure what really bothers me more, the lyrics or the way they're actually delivered. Both are awful in their own right, and both make me further question just how I made it through this record the first time through, let alone the second.

The fact that listening to a record for a second time brings out more detail is usually a good thing; it usually makes that album a better experience. No, not here. The second run through here only further illustrates some annoying keyboard part that I had originally missed, or some obnoxious and unnecessary synth use. But to break up that awful monotony, the band does actually have a guitarist, and yes, he is occasionally used. Who'd have thought? Not even the heaviest distortion can save this pile, however, I mean, just listen to "Into the Night." Why? Why was this song recorded? Forty painful minutes after it starts, I'm left with more questions than answers.

I don't ask for much, really, and I've always been one to find that silver lining, no matter how dark the room. But there's no silver lining this time, no pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, hell, not even a lollipop after the flu shot.