The Suicide Machines make it really difficult sometimes. Change from album to album is a good thing and all, but this band takes that concept to an extreme. With each album, the band explores a variety of new sounds, to varying amounts of success.
On their first LP,"Destruction By Definition" they crafted a solid set of blazing ska-punk that took the framework layed down by Operation Ivy, and gave it a motor city kick. On their second full-length, "Battle Hymns", they took the punk energy up a notch and didn't put so much emphasis on the ska element. It was a great album, probably my favorite by this band. With their next follow up, their self titled effort, they took a really unexpected route. Power-pop, lush strings, and almost no ska-punk at all, plus a cover of "I never Promised you a Rose Garden" made this a bizarre experience for fans of the band. Like many a former Blink-182 fan, fans of the Suicide Machines felt betrayed by the poppy mall-punk and songs about dogs, and the album was much maligned. Now we have "Steal This Record".
I'm not sure what to say about this disc, other than it is the sum of every other Suicide Machines album. It's definitely not as poppy as the self-titled CD, but it lacks the raw edge of "DBD" and "BH". The album opens with what could possibly be my least favorite Suicide Machines song ever, " The Killing Blow", a stupid song both lyrically and musically. Don't believe me? Here is a sample-
- "You had the support/ And the support was you/ I tried to make it work/ I wish you had tried too/ Like a Dali abstract/ It was all fucked up/ Now I'm dying in the gutter/ Down on my luck."
Yeah, deep guys. However, they come back around with a couple of quality punk cuts, "Steal This Record" and "Honor Among Thieves". Next up, a fair cover of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know it" featuring Toby from H2O. The rest of the CD pretty much follows the tried and true pop-punk and pseudo-thrash route that the Suicide Machines are known for. A little detour with the reggea/ska number "Stand Up" is pretty interesting, but it doesn't seem to fit here very well. I like the song, but it seems kind of alone on this CD, the solitary, token nod to their musical roots.
All in all, I would recommend this CD for hardcore fans of the band. It's a return to form after the fiasco that was the S/T CD, and they definitely are trying to show that they haven't lost their edge. For those who haven't yet experienced the Suicide Machines, don't start here, start with "DBD" or "BH". "Steal This Record" is a good disc, nothing special in the grand scheme of things, but a decent listen nonetheless.