No Use for a Name - Keep Them Confused
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: June 14, 2005
My most anticipated album of 2005 was not quite as good as I had hoped.
However, it still goes down as one of the best releases of 2005.
Let me preface this review by stating that No Use For A Name is an essential band that defines my mid-to-late teenage years. I anticipate liking anything released by these guys. My high hopes may have made me expect too much from NUFAN's ninth full length, but it is still a very solid album. The first listen-through was very disappointing, however. KTC seemed to be too soft and too overproduced for my taste. I knew that I had to listen to it a few times and I'd fall in love, which I did. For fans of the band who are familiar with previous releases - it's not aggressive like Making Friends, but from More Betterness and Hard Rock Bottom, we've come to expect the more recent releases wouldn't be as hard-hitting. MB and HRB are two of my favorite albums of all time, though, so as long as KTC kept in that vein, I would not be unhappy. Keep Them Confused began as a disappointment, but ended up with more lasting than initial value.
I have to be honest - the best stuff comes at the beginning. Part Two is an incredible entrance to the album. The melody, tempo, and and catchiness of the song mesh together incredibly well, in classic No Use fashion. There Will Be Revenge is slightly darker in content, but still comes off in typical uptempo rhythms and catchy melodies. For Fiona, the first video from the album, is a tribute to singer Tony Slyís daughter, which weighs in as the songís poppiest song, which is not totally a bad thing. It still is certainly listenable, although it does not showcase the bandís incredible musical talent as a headlining song probably should.
Check For A Pulse brings back the dark-but-not-so-much tone, with darker lyrics but remaining true to No Useís upbeat style of playing. Divine Let Down, however, was just that. The counterpart to HRBís Feels Like Home and MBís Let It Slide (the acoustic, minute and a half long song on the album) was not as effective as its predecessors. The strange electronic drum beat is rather corny, Tonyís voice was a little high and overproduced, and while the previous albumís acoustic selections survive as songs you could see yourself singing around a campfire, the KTC entry is not. Itís easy to overlook that, however, as it occupies less than two minutes of play time.
Black Box is next, a decent song; it and the next few are in the same class as Black Box: decent but unspectacular. Still very much worth listening to, though. Bullets follows, providing a faster beat and classic Rory Koff drumming. Black Box is probably the slowest full length song on the album, but Bullets brings you back up to speed. Next is a rather useless forty-one seconds of noise and a voice speaking a foreign language that introduces Apparition. Unfortunately, Iíll never have those forty-one seconds back, bringing up one of my pet peeves: when bands decide to stick a bunch of random open space in an album. At least they use it as a separate track and not part of the song Apparition, so you can delete it off your iPod or skip the track, rather than having to listen to the monotonic noise every time you listen to Apparition.
Apparition is an average track, itís not going to be your favorite song, but itís adequate for listening. Itís a slower song, but the vocals are good and it offers a change of pace. Next is ďItís Tragic,Ē a faster and more memorable anti-war and anti-Bush song with a subtle quietness encased in a fast paced rock song. The song even contains chilling clips of President Bush speaking, and it appears NUFAN pieced together several clips that reveal the Presidentís ďreal message.Ē
The next song, Killing Time, is the hidden gem of the album. Buried in the third-to-last track slot on the album, Killing Time is a melodic anti-war cry that follows the life of a young soldier sucked into warfare by family tradition. It's an energetic yet touching song, much more effective than the regurgitated "screw the government" cries less creative bands spew out. The last two songs, Slowly Fading Fast and Overdue, provide a nice exit, although Overdue is a little boring and monotone.
Overall, the release was advertised on No Useís site as a dark album. The content may be dark in places, but the music is upbeat and fun, which provides for great listening.
It's a really solid album. If you want tight, seamless and creative rock with flawless drumming by Rory Koff and better than average vocal harmonies combined with a smooth, energetic flow, give it a try.
i've been getting in the mood for it lately, and i wrote this review about ten months ago, so i decided to pull out both the cd and the review. i think the may-june months get me in the mood because thats when it came out and i was in such anticipation one year ago today!
i must say albums are rated very highly on here...rarely is there anything below 75% or so...compared to other ratings, id say this is like a 90%, haha, considering it was one of my favorites of 05. man, everyone who reviews thinks every album is so amazing.