American anthemic rock titans Shinedown are back in 2018 with their pulsating new album, Attention Attention. It’s been a hot minute since the band released new music so fans and reviewers alike are desperate to hear what the intrepid, emotionally charged rockers have to say three years after 2015’s Threat To Survival.
The first track from the album (if you disregard the 39 second intro track) is entitled Devil and has been doing the rounds on YouTube and the radio for a while now. The chorus of “It’s about to get heavy!” describes not only this particular song but the album as a whole. The distortion in the guitars is super intriguing and the drums are in your face and pack a huge punch. Black Soul starts with a chant from vocalist Brent Smith, his egotistical yet charming singing style is what makes this band stand out from the rest of the radio friendly rockers in 2018. There are also headbangs and riffs aplenty on this track which will excite some of the Shinedown fans who, in the past have felt the band have moved away slightly from their heavier roots. Shinedown have a unique way of creating a chorus that wouldn’t be out of place sung at the top of your lungs whilst stood on the moon looking down on the world with your fist in the air.
Title track Attention Attention definitely grabs just that- it has another superb anthemic chorus that will certainly sound epic on the main stage of Download Festival in June this year. Kill Your Conscience has a different sound to it- whilst it is still a powerful track, there are a few unique elements to it. The drums feel influenced by an indie rock beat, whilst there are electronic timbres fused throughout. However, this is not a negative, and it’s great to see a band like Shinedown evolving and being open to different musical elements that they can merge with their bouncing metal energy.
The energy doesn’t stop on Pyro; the liveliest of the collection so far and there’s no doubt Smith will have crowds in the palm of his hand with this fearless, enthusiastic hard rock bop. Meanwhile, Monsters delves into themes of depression and what is happening behind closed doors in someone’s head. The solo from guitarist Zach Myers is subtle but could represent the ferocity of the ‘monsters’ that someone could feel.
There is a shift in tone and sound during the previously mentioned Monster following through onto next tracks, Darkside and Creatures. Conceptually, if the album is a description of the band members lives so far, then these would be the tracks that highlight the darker periods of life. The lyrics are unfortunately painfully relatable but also show that you’re not alone during these times.
Evolve picks the pace back up but the passion isn’t lost. Get Up is an uplifting anthem that builds both musically and lyrically. Opening with just piano and vocals, it soars into a chorus that could lift anyone out of a dark slumber. There is a spoken word part of the song where Smith recounts his own struggles with depression and explains that even he couldn’t talk about it at times. This moving track is a real standout moment of the album so far.
The Human Radio begins with a real edgy riff from bassist Ed Bass. Bass also produced and mixed the album himself- making the whole project a real close knit effort. This track has harsh vibes to it but uses an epic choir sounding chorus to really lift the entire song. There are electronic elements throughout and there’s even an electronic solo within it- this is Shinedown projecting themselves into 2018. Closing song Brilliant has more electronic vibes but the overwhelming emotion is one of positivity and the lyrics are inspiring, yet relatable: “It’s my day to be brilliant”. There are not enough musicians in 2018 lifting people this high with rousing lyrics and music to match.
The album ends with Smith saying “till next time” therefore informing us that there’s so much more to come from this band. Shinedown have made a great concept album in a time where good concept albums are lacking in the music industry. Attention Attention takes the listener on an emotional rollercoaster including dark themes with moving and thought provoking components. Having always been a big arena band, here at Backseat Mafia we can’t wait to see the band play the Main Stage at Donington Park for Download Festival in June!
Attention Attention is out May 4th via Atlantic Records.