Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Anniversary Your Majesty Vagrant/Heroes & Villains 2001

 The Anniversary Your Majesty Vagrant/Heroes & Villains 2001 CAT # VR359/HV011

I'm torn with this LP.  It's the last Anniversary LP and it was a complete departure from the band's previous output.  Virtually everything leading up to Your Majesty was centered around Adrianne Verhoeven's  (listed on this album as Adrianne Pope because, she was briefly married to Rob Pope of the Get Up Kids) quirky keyboards and vocals.  The songs written by Josh Josh Berwanger and Justin Roelofs were good, but made better by Adrianne's contributions to them.  Maybe they got sick of it, maybe their egos didn't like Adrianne getting all the attention, but after doing a split EP with the band Superdrag that would hint to this, they redefined their sound.

The quirky bubblegum indie rock is gone on Your Majest.  Instead Berwanger and Roelofs became obsessed with groove and classic rock sounds.  Big guitar, funky breaks and sweeping arrangements.  Verhoeven still plays a role, but it's mostly vocal, she adds keyboards but it is building tool rather than a featured instrument.

Admittedly, they show they got the hooks to undertake the new sound.  The first three songs on Your Majesty are huge.  In fact, they are so good, I think they fooled most people into believing this was a great album.  They did the LP in Los Angeles to show they meant business and definitely got a big boy sound out of the sessions.  However, after the first three songs, I tend to find this LP boring.  Songs like 'Husam Husam' and 'Devil on my Side' typify what you find throughout the album.  Grand sweeping ideas that lead to nowhere.  The slick production and over-dubbing make things sound important, but it's just empty and never seems to live up to its ambitions.

I really hate to be Debbie Downer, because again, the first three tracks are incredible.  They lead into each other effortlessly.  The groove on those tunes feel so good and hit you in the face like a Buddy Miles drum break.  It may be that those three songs are impossible to live up.  Maybe, I'm missing the genius behind a song like "The Death of a King" with it's wind sound effects (yeah, sound effects, who the fuck are these guys?) in the background and prog-rock keyboards, but it takes six minutes to get to the absolutely pointless 'Follow the Sun'.  I'd rather just listen to the first three tracks again.

Sweet Marie-1st Song-So good.
Crooked Crown-2nd Song-Feel that groove
Peace, Pain & Regret-3rd Song-Different feel, but solid and great bottom

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