Lostprophets – Start Something

Start Something

… So yeah, I was fortunate enough to get a copy of Lostprophets’ Start Something to review (and at this point, I’ll wait a minute for all the snickering to die down) … And yes, I’m being completely honest when I say I was “fortunate enough’ to get this disc, since this one could’ve easily wound up in the hands of someone that would’ve trashed the album to death in a flurry of anti-major label, pop/punk/emo sell-out band rants.
Now, I’m not one to judge anyone else’s tastes or opinions or such, but I think the world of music would be a better place if a select group of folks would stop cracking on bands that write catchy songs or sign with major labels. That crap’s old, seriously. I mean, c’mon – even “Mr. DIY indie credibility’ Ian MacKaye of Fugazi’s gone out on a limb at one point and been man enough to say he was influenced by Ted Nugent. How’s that blow to your little indie-rock egos feel there, kids? The man who belted out “Suggestion” found something to admire in the man that sang the lyric, “Wang dang sweet poontang” … Now, doesn’t that make y’all realize that maybe this whole “music credibility’ thing is a load of crap? Well, it should.
Well, basically, allow me to stand up strong and proud, raise my voice as loud as possible, and say, “Screw all that noise, yo.” Have the Lostprophets released the album of the year with Start Something? No, not at all. Is Start Something a surprisingly catchy (and sometimes startlingly rocking) set of 12 songs? Well, yeah. Seriously.
It seems that Columbia actually has a clue with Lostprophets, as well, as the label released what is arguably the disc’s best track, “Last Train Home,” as the radio/MTV single. The song glides along on a lulling guitar during the verse parts, though the song’s chorus soars all sing-along rock arena anthem style, pushed by surprisingly strong rhythm guitar blasts. Say what you will, but there’s something powerful in that pop goodness, indeed. “Burn Burn” starts with a flare-up reminiscent of Far’s “Mother Mary,” though the song turns into something bigger with the addition of the second stun guitar riff that builds to a thick chorus that cycles around some hollered group backing vocals.
Album opener “We Still Kill the Old Way” has a vague Glassjaw feel to it, with more yelling/screaming and guitar passages that seem more violent than the rest of the album dishes up. Still, the chorus eases up just enough to be catchy as hell. “I Don’t Know” builds up around a riff similar to the Police’s “S.O.S.,” though the chorus picks up some intensity and eventually leads to the surprising appearance of a guitar solo to end the track. Orchestral-sounding synth pieces back the guitars on the album’s title track, giving the song an epic feel that matches up disturbingly well with the screamed backing vocals and the chugging metal-guitar laced bridges. After all that, the sound of a gong brings out a pretty piano piece to wind the track down.
One thing I can’t get out of my head, however, is how much the vocals on this disc remind me of some of Mike Patton’s work on Faith No More’s The Real Thing release. Certain parts of these songs, while more polished, are reminiscent of old-school FNM as well (back when they were just a metal band with an accidental hit, and before everyone started seeing them as influential), though I think a lot of that has to do with both the vocals and the way the keyboards are used throughout the album (a la Roddy Bottum).
I was pleasantly surprised with Start Something, as I was expecting to love “Last Train Home” and not really care too much about the 11 junk tracks it got packaged with. However, after the fourth or fifth time I played the disc, I realized that I’d never once skipped over a track. Lostprophets might not garner a ton of critical acclaim for redefining a genre or anything, but the band has put together a collection of 12 damned strong songs … and even if I’m the only one that’s not too stuck on his own pretentiousness to notice, I sure give the band a lot of credit for that.