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Issue: May 2009

Searching For an Identity in an Ocean of Emo

Lonely Road (Virgin Records)
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus's sophomore release, Lonely Road, is a record of pristine production and talented musicianship, but each track lacks cohesion with the others. The band's first album, Don't You Fake It, was consistently emo with a tiny bit of balls and spawned the innocent hit, "Face Down."

Half of the tracks on Lonely Road could be considered similar to the band's old sound, but the rest lacks direction and concept. The album starts with "You Better Pray," which begins with feedback, roomy drums and ripping guitars, moves into a post-grunge grinder. The vocals are expanding and melodic at an unusually nice high pitch.

One would have no complaint if this where the direction for which to RJA chose to experiment, but "You Better Pray" is followed with "No Spell," an electronic pop dance track that probably wouldn't make it as a Killers' b-side. The emo-style vocals lack performance while they sound as if they were being read during recording.

The album does reach light several times, though. The fiercely confident and well produced "Pull Me Back" is a solid pop-rock song with a big chorus and energetic verses.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus would be well suited to examine its two albums, decide what has worked and strive to create an album full of songs like that, instead of putting together a varied set of songs that lack sureness and swagger.

Get more at www.redjumpsuit.com.

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