It’s been a while since we heard or saw anything of Shinedown. Last time we met these hard rock’n’rollers was back last year when they were supporting Iron Maiden. Just like most bands who support Iron Maiden, they looked slightly out of place and were somewhat unappreciated by the majority of the crowd, although they didn’t go down as the worst Maiden warm-ups we’ve ever seen.
We did see some crowd interaction, especially from the younger fans opposed to the classic turn your back and stick your finger in the air approach.
So not all bad then… We once saw a chap wear a white Bon Jovi (‘These Days’ era) t-shirt to a Maiden gig and he tried to get involved in the moshpit. To say he was a target is a bit of an understatement!
Anyway, Shinedown are back with ‘Attention Attention’ and when we just have them alone to focus on, we’re more likely to appreciate their efforts. This is a concept album, so we expect Shinedown will be in epic overblown rock theatre mode.
That’s not exactly true here, the album is actually quite punchy and shifts mood from a dark and schizophrenic beginning to a more joyous and euphoric mood towards the b-side. This ain’t ‘Music for the Elder’* after all!
Shooting straight from the mainstream, we know we’re in for some melodic hard rock tunes with some soaring chorus lines and general arena filling gems; concept album or not…
The title track gives Brent a chance to get the megaphone out on stage which is one of his little trademarks, but when he switches to clean old singing once again, we feel the anthemic power of his vocal chords.
The heavy beats and heavy electronic influence add to the edgy feeling of the first half of the album. ‘Black Soul’ is the sound of anxiety wrapped up in a sweet pop rock tune. It just happens to have enormous riffs and the standard colossal chorus line too.
There is no massive departure from the norm here from Shinedown, but it has to be said that these more intense and blacker tunes are rather good indeed.
As the album lightens up a bit; take ‘Get Up’ for example. It all sounds a little more familiar and less progressive. Probably a little too sickly for the average CB pallet. There’s no denying that Brent has an emotive and well-rounded voice, but we just prefer him in more angsty fashion.
Next to last track ‘The Human Radio’ has a fuzzy little vibe that would take Rival Sons to the twelfth round in a fist fight even if the orchestral influenced chorus line is a little too joyous for our miserable selves. Similarly the closer ‘Brilliant’ has a vomit-inducing title even before the crooning begins. It’s all saved by a choppy little riff and frantic vocal line however and it actually turns into quite the little rocker. Just give us a slap if you catch us singing “It’s my day to be brilliant” in public.
Having said that, Shinedown fans will lap this up and there are more arena sized tunes on here than you can shake a stick at. We’re sure it will sound suitably epic in the late afternoon sun at Download too!
*A damn straight f**kin’ terrible Kiss concept album that you are unlikely to own, have heard or even care about if you like Shinedown or are under the age of forty. Don’t bother checking it out kids… it’s not even funny.