The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Lonely Road

Band: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Album: Lonely Road
Genre: Rock
Label: EMI

Track Listing:
1. You Better Pray
2. No Spell
3. Pen and Paper
4. Represent
5. Pull Me Back
6. Step Right Up
7. Believe
8. Pleads and Postcards
9. Senioritis
10. Godspeed

Instant mainstream success is the biggest double edged sword a band can come across. Sure, it’s awesome for everyone to falll in love with your band, tour the world, and sell 500,000 copies of your label debut, but there is also a wave of hate and name calling that most never see coming. In the case of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus [who will be called RJA from here on], their label debut came with the chart crushing, “Face Down,” that brought dmeoestic abuse to the front lines with catchy lyrics and solid chord progression. Then, following to more minor singles, the band went dormant for a year and are now back with, “Lonely Road,” an album that shows growth, but I’m not sure it’s for the best.

The baffling choice of a single, “You Better Pray,” kicks off the record on a horrible note. Fans and newcomers alike seem to, for the majority, scratch their heads at this track which tries to bring 80’s rock and new age tempos together, but it comes across as an underwhelming effort that was best not attempted at all. Having spoke with Ronnie [lead vocals], I know the band does whatever they want in the studio and then let’s others handle the business side, but they really made it hard leading off with such a weak track. Though, the majority of the record is equally as weak or underwhelming. “Represent,” tries to capture the world of ballads, but contains near elementary lyrics and the swells of sound can’t cover the errors in structure and lyrics. On the other side of the soundscape, tracks like, “Pull Me Back,” and, “Pen and Paper,” seem to be searching for a late 70’s/mid 90’s rock hybrid and it feels so force and “heard it before,” that you just can’t approach it with open arms. I’m all for experimentation, but there should still be a focused goal.

Now, I will admit, there is something to be loved on the album. The reason I haven’t mentioned it is only because the grain of true enjoyment I found was buried under tidal waves of near hits and overworked simplicity. However, “Senioritis,” a pop punk type song, feels youthful and brings the energy we’ve all been hoping to find on this album. It’s quick, but it surely brings a smile to your face. In addition to this, Ronnie shows real lyrical growth on, “Godspeed.” where most of the record feels amateurish in terms of storytelling, “Godspeed,” tells quite a beautiful tale of war and love. Finishing off the album, these two tracks do their best to salvage a doomed ship, but in the end, it’s too little to late.

Ronnie told us in December that if people didn’t like the single [You Better Pray], they would hate the next song and the others that followed, but that was okay because the band is looking for true fans, not people following a fad. Well, I personally had hopes for this record, but following that single and the rest of the disc, I guess I’m not a true fan, but it’s not like RJA made it easy. The record seems horribly misguided and since there is no goal musically, everything attempted feels amateurish and underwhelming. Add this to the fact the band was mainly silent for 16 months and I bet the folks at EMI are getting a little worried. Maybe next time around there will be some more guidance, but for now, pass on this record. Please.

*Written By: James Shotwell*
Grade: 2.5/10

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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