The ghosts of electro-rock past have come back to haunt us. First, Machines of Loving Grace disintegrate, then Gravity Kills. But the last one standing out of all them, surprisingly, is Stabbing Westward. After almost as many lineup changes as Menudo, the gloomy rock group has returned with a new label and an even more watered-down sound than their last effort, Darkest Days. Keyboards are here and there, but the band has opted for more of that radio-friendly rock sound, following the paths of many others before them.
It•s not that all the songs are terrible. The opening “So Far Away” is the signature Stabbing Westward sound. Screaming choruses, heavy, minor chord guitar, and wallowing keyboards all make for a catchy tune. It is good to see the Chicago foursome has changed things up a bit. But after the fourth or fifth track, one begins to tire of the new, acoustic-oriented, atmospheric formula. It isn’t really the music, but Chris Hall’s constantly depressing lyrical themes, which have gotten as formulaic as a teen-horror film. Either get him a girlfriend or prescribe some Prozac, because if his tune doesn’t change, neither will Stabbing Westward, which could end them up in the quagmire that dissolved the aforementioned bands.
Koch Records, 740 Broadway, New York, NY 10003; http://www.kochentertainment.com