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Lostprophets mesh genres in ‘Transmission’

Analise Lipari | Thursday, September 21, 2006

In their latest release, Welsh rockers Lostprophets have evolved their sound from heavy metal to referential alternative. “Liberation Transmission,” the band’s third studio album, calls to mind shades of Duran Duran, the Clash, and even Fall Out Boy in it’s most accessible release yet.

Consisting of Ian Watkins, Jamie Oliver, Lee Gaze, Mike Lewis and Stuart Richardson, Lostprophets have made a conscious effort in their latest release to get back to their roots.

“From our parents, we grew up on pop music, but we were also into Metallica and Megadeth, and when you’re 19 years old all you want to do is play heavy stuff, and that’s easier to do as well,” Watkins said in a recent interview with MTV.com.

“But this time we decided to strip some of the stuff down and let the songs really stand out. It’s not all about thrashy riffs anymore, it’s about taking elements from the stuff we listened to growing up and using that to make better songs,” Watkins continued.

Already having debuted at No. 1 in the UK, “Liberation Transmission” was released on Sept. 11 in the United States and debuted at No. 33 on the Billboard charts.

The opening track, “Everyday Combat,” is among the most metal-sounding of the songs, and acts as a bridge for their older fans into their developing sound. With strong vocals, heavy percussion and a repetitive chorus, “Combat” harkens back to their earlier days in a way that leaves room for the changes to come.

Beginning with the second track, “A Town Called Hypocrisy,” Lostprophets demonstrate their new musicology. Calling to mind thoughts of the brand of punk found in bands like The Clash, “Hypocrisy” blends the sensibilities of more modern emo-type rockers like Fall Out Boy with an appreciation for glossier acts like Franz Ferdinand, leaving both old and new fans of the Welsh band with little to fault.

This trend in musical blending and evolution continues with “The New Transmission” and “Rooftops,” where both pointed vocals and distinctive guitar riffs call to mind the better days of Eve 6. Particularly in “Rooftops,” listeners are hearing a new purity of sound for the group – it’s a little less metal, a little more pop, and in a way that stays true to the essence of their sound.

Other standout tracks include “Can’t Stop, Gotta Date With Hate,” whose hook and lyrics are so addictive that they warrant multiple listens immediately, “Everybody’s Screaming!!!,” a solid rock track with hints of the Arctic Monkeys blended with smoother vocals, and “4:AM Forever,” a subtle reflection in the vein of an Incubus-type sound.

“Always All Ways,” the album’s final track, represents the sum of their musical evolution, as it’s the most glaringly different from “Everyday Combat.” It’s as though the band has tracked their evolution through the progress of the album, and closing on “Always All Ways” lends the band both a speculative ballad and a unique finale.

There are occasional moments where their genre-bending gets somewhat messy. While the band is generally successful in finding a hybrid between the metal of their past and the pop-alternative of their future, occasional metal moments on certain tracks seem a bit out of place. Finding fault with these moments, however, is more nitpicking than a real criticism.

On the whole, their sound is strong and consistently unique in their history.