I don't think it's the timing, I feel the same way. I like YGMIA, there's a a bunch of great songs in there and the ones who aren't great are still good, but the band seemed to step away a little bit from that unique style they had in Sports. This record seems louder and faster and the guitars don't seem to match with the vocals as much. At least that's the impression I got.
I still like the record, though, and I think it's more dynamic than Sports, which loses some power in its second half, but that unique style, or essence, as you called it, is a little bit toned down.
With that being said, Talon of the Hawk is a great record, Santa Monica is hilarious and McCafferty are awesome.
Oh nah, the timing comment was just for me personally. Sports was released back in, what, November 2012? and, a lot of the songs were right on the money with what I was going through/how I felt over a year ago and they still are because I'm still a dumb college kid so I get it when someone in their mid twenties isn't into it. I'm not even sure this band will do it for me five years down the line, but right now I love what they're doing. And it's possible that they maintain that relatability five years from now because they'll grow and mature with the kids who like them now. Really that third paragraph in the review about how they're a voice of the angsty youth said it perfectly.
Another reason for not really digging this new record tho is I think Sports is lyrically so much better than YGtMIA. I get what people are saying about some of the lyrics being dumb but I wouldn't say that about anything on Sports, not even @chl03k.