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Review: Lostprophets - Weapons [Album]

Review: Lostprophets - Weapons [Album]

Epic UK | "They’ve still got their style, they just don’t have any substance left"

Review   7725 Views
Last Edited by: Jack Stovin March 29th, 2012.

Some of you old timers, like myself, might remember Lostprophets when they released music with an iota of passion, when they weren’t just faces, when they were part of a burgeoning Welsh music scene, when they were on the cusp of greatness threatening to bubble over and take the mainstream by the throat, spitting sense into its uniformity. Some of you might not remember this. Either way, what Lostprophets have descended into isn’t so much a fake, hollow, plastic carcass singing about ‘revolution’ as much as they have become a mockery of their former selves.

Lostprophets were always the pretty boys with Ian Watkins and his hair dryer posing at the front, but they also released genre bending tracks with titles like ‘Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja’ and sang about the inherent evils of ‘the system’: “I know that I was told my integrity was sold, priced and placed upon a shelf its worth its weight in gold.” This though is a review of their latest album Weapons and to listen to it almost borders on parody as it continues in the cookie cutter vein of their previous two albums—as much as you might have tried to ignore them you will have been blasphemed by top ten hit ‘Rooftops’ from 2006’s Liberation Transmission where the end was indeed beginning to be nigh.

Kicking the album off in truly postmodern fashion is ‘Bring ‘Em Down’ which ironically declares, “Oh kid I’ve heard this all before, don’t waste your time, don’t be so sure,” amongst a plethora of more angsty ‘calling all you haters’ type lyrics and, you can be sure at after more than ten years in the business these boys have some haters. The truly weird thing about this track though is the last minute of it whereby Lost Prophets have suddenly decided that Enter Shikari seem to be doing all right for themselves so, you know, why not have a go—without you having to waste three minutes we can tell you to just stick with Enter Shikari.

Lostprophets are a band that have always been good at melding different sounds within their tracks, but the sudden change of pace between opener and ‘We Bring An Arsenal’, which sounds a little too much like ‘A Town Called Hypocrisy’ for my liking, creates a rift which continues throughout the record, meaning that Weapons isn’t the cohesive collection it should have been. Instead what we’re left with is just that, a collection of songs, a collection of songs that could have come from any of their previous four records, only two of which are worth your time. So in the space of two songs Weapons has gone from being a new album to being a half-cocked, B-sides record by a band that once had something about them.

‘Jesus Walks’ could have been interesting, then again it could have been a Kanye West cover; it fails on both counts. It’s an insidiously simple beat with Watkins crooning faux religious ideology at you amidst melodic swells that threaten to cremate the song. Like most of the songs here they go for a big sing-along chorus that their new tween fans will have an absolute blast moshing their way through and, that’s fine, that’s what they are now. You can’t really take issue with that, it’s better than say, The Jonas Brother’s, but like 30 Seconds To Mars they’re now pretending to be something they’re not and you free to (and I will) take issue with that fact.

‘A Little Reminder That I’ll Never Forget’
is awkward long after the bum note by Watkins at the start, it sees the band trying to use chunky bass to accomplish a fuller sound which, they don’t need and frankly don’t know what to do with. They do however fully embrace the laptop here, like the turntable in their earlier work, it comes to be somewhat of a crutch and Jamie Oliver (no, not that one) is once more proving himself as the most valuable band member, bar Watkins whose voice still defines their sound.

When Watkins voice isn’t utilised in the appropriate manner what you’re left with is something as unfortunate as ‘Better Off Dead,’ where you might hear something akin to rapping being attempted before your senses convulse, causing you to immediately Google ‘rap’ just to see what happens. He’s no Dappy that’s for sure. They also attempt something you might vaguely recognise as ‘Hardcore Punk,’ but don’t let that fool you it’s just the horrible combination of shouting and three chords played in a progressive rhythm. Obviously this song has a message which you should ignore with every fibre of your being. Just in case you didn’t hate this track enough then you can fine tune your ear into a little Skrillex style wub-wub as it closes.

Lostprophets still have a career and they’ve done well to sustain it, they’ve adapted to the changing times and they’ve gotten themselves an entire new fan base along the way. They’ve still got their style, they just don’t have any substance left. One day soon they might find themselves like fellow Welsh boys Funeral For A Friend having to revert back to the sound of yesteryear and hope they haven’t alienated those who were there when it began. Until then though this is empty music for radio DJ’s to chat over and nothing more.

Sadly Weapons packs little punch.

Weapons is out on April 2nd

Listen to:
  • 'Bring Em Down'
  • 'Somedays'

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