Alex Yamakazi - Tuesday, 17 June 2003
I have a feeling that somewhere out there in the USA there is a record label A&R guy who lost his job over this one. It's obvious cash has been poured into this project. It's certainly slickly produced and stylishly presented. It got some great reviews in the music press. I've had it for about a month now and I'm still trying to work out why. Surely the label can't have spent THAT much on advertising space.
I'm not adverse to a bit of genre bending but AFI really don't seem to know what they want to be. There are leanings toward the epic feel of Metallica and the Tea Party. The AFI boys certainly LOOK like they are trying to do the whole overblown gothic drama thing. Eyeliner aplenty.
The CD starts well (if they're trying to be Goths) we have tolling bells, chanting and then Davey Havok (oh puh-lease!!!) starts singing and ruins it all. His voice is thin and reedy and sounds incredibly strained. He seems to be constantly nursing it along and it's just plain irritating!!!
Sure there are bands out there led by people who don't have the strongest voices. The Smashing Pumpkins are one example of that but unlike AFI they seem to be able to meld it into a unique sound and somehow make it work. I hate to think what AFI would sound like live.
Musically this CD has its moments, a precious few of them. The intro is huge and occasionally they break into some great dark, funky electronica but on the whole it's unimaginative punk. Lyrically it's as trite as "dark" comes. File it in between Evanescence and Blink 182. There's a certain Goth revival feeling going on out there but if the labels are going to make it work they are going to have to do better than this.