Remember your first relationship? How everything seemed bright and shiny and important? How you thought the two of you would be together forever, even if at the moment you were really only teenagers in semi-permanent like? Or maybe you're in a relationship right now, where everything is a beautiful sunny day even in the coldness of reality. This is not the CD for those relationships, but it may help you treasure the good ones you've been in if not motivate you to call your other to tell them how much you love them as soon you finish listening to this CD. It's a CD primarily for the distinegration, the aftermath. The rock sound is apropos for the rocky relationship, the relationship already on the rocks. It's a CD for realising that after any number of not-so-great relationships you're happy with saying goodbye to those who bent your heart (though at the time you thought it was broken), and having the courage to express contentment with not being in love... but at the same time, not closing one's self from the beauty of love itself. From the lead single "I Love Not Loving You" which speaks to the realisation of knowing you're better off being apart from that person, to "Everybody's Right" to "Worse Than Before", the tempo and tone of Wide Mouth Mason's uptempo rock songs speak to being brave enough to come out and say what many are afraid of saying in polite society. It's no longer about fitting in, about hiding behind the pretenses... it's rock Wide Mouth Mason-style, an evolved tone which is heavier and assertive, it's rock for rock's sake. Who knew that the breakdown of a relationship could have such rhythm when put to music? With the exception of "Please Go Home", which speaks to a different relationship beyond the romantic, each song on SHOT DOWN SATELLITES stands as conversations of a relationship breaking down, or at least in a state of flux. The lyrics of each song sound familiar to those who've experienced similar emotions, similar attempts to try to make that other person respond if not listen to what is going on. And yet it's not necessarily a CD of sadness. There's a strength in the way the songs have been built for this album that suggest resilience. Of the two ballads on SHOT DOWN SATELLITES, the bittersweetness of "Rust", the musical lament of love being lost is beautifully rendered with the gradual adding of drums, of bass, of vocals to a song. Hearing "Rust" will twist your heartstrings but will also make you yearn to hear the song again just to experience the exquisite ache of emotion that underlies every note, every beat of this song. For those moments of just needing to rock out with emotion, this album is what you need.
I think the album is at least as good as the preceding one, and I don't really want to go into detail but I wanted to point out to a previous reviewer that it was his expectation of Shaun's voice that's more the issue with why he was disappointed, not how Shaun's voice isn't changing.
Shaun was already mature when he recorded his vocals on the first album, so how much was his voice supposed to change by now (or rather then, when this album was recorded). That's a 10-year span on the outside. Singers whose voices have deepened have experienced this over 25+ years, usually sometime in their mid to late 40s. And singers who don't abuse their voice, who sing "correctly", can (excluding accidents, illness, etc.) maintain their voice for longer.
Whether you like Shaun's voice or not, expecting it to be drastically different after only a few years isn't reasonable. I personally like the way Shaun sings and don't mind the fact he sings in a higher range; I actually find it refreshing in an age where everyone seems apt to imitate Eddie Vedder because it's trendy. And, he is an excellent singer in the range he does sing in, which is again refreshing. But that's just my opinion.
WMM are one tight little rock outfit let me get that out right away. Also they are one of my favourite Canadian bands and have been since their debut. However, their first two albums I liked instantly, their third I had to get used to (a little over produced and commercial sounding than the others). Then came Rained Out Parade with it's killer lead track. I had to put it away for awhile and come back to it but came to love it as well. I am finding the same with this new release. The playing is as tight and rocking as ever, songwriting seems to be strong. You know what the difficulty has been for me? Well, I'll tell ya (thanks for asking)...it's Shaun's voice. He has an amazingly versatile voice that can do rock, ballads, blues, funk equally effectively. However, I keep waiting for his voice to mature and leave that high pitched, nasal sound and instead he seems to be using it more and more.....and more. I gave it 3 stars because i like the album, i just don't love it - yet. With repeated listening, i'm sure that it will grow on me but that's what i think at present time (for what it's worth).
This new Wide Mouth Mason album is absolutely fantastic. It starts off with four super-high-energy songs that are highlighted by some thick, revved-up slide guitar. This is the signature Wide Mouth Mason sound, but a lot more straight ahead and energetic than we're used to. Those first four tracks are awesome. Don't get me wrong, the rest is as well, but the energy and that ferocious slide guitar on the opening four is completely contagious. I haven't taken this CD out of my car in the week that I've had it. BUY THIS CD, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT! Now for the problems (not with the music of course!). In an age where image rules over substance it is obvious that this band has been constantly struggling to keep their heads above water. They've been through the wringer that is the Canadian music industry. It doesn't matter how good you are. These guys have been improperly marketed for years under their former "record company", Warner Music. This horrendous label tried to market them as a hip-hop act and a teeny-bopper act, among other things. This has left them with an admittedly loyal fanbase, but also one that is small and mostly comprised of prude young girls and effeminate males. Completely the wrong audience for a jammy blues-rock band that sings about smoking pot and one night stands (among other things of course!). In order to survive these guys NEED to get their music to the American jamband fans that will embrace and really appreciate their music. They need to play jammy festivals such as the Bonnaroo festival and really penetrate that scene. A tour opening for Ben Harper in the US would be exactly what these guys need. Or perhaps a stint with The Black Crowes, warming up the stage for the bros Robinson in the marijuana smoke filled auditoriums they play for beer drinking, magic mushroom swallowing, hallucinating audiences. That is where Wide Mouth Mason needs to be, and until they find somebody who can open these doors for them I'm afraid they will never get the recognition that their music so rightly deserves. This CD is awesome. Keep playing that slide Shaun!