Review: Unwritten Law- Acoustic

Posted: May 20, 2016 in Reviews

It’s strange to review such an established and famous band. Unwritten Law formed in Poway, California, just like blink-182. We can imagine from the title that this is an acoustic album. The album consists mostly of re-recorded acoustic version of old songs, but there’s also a cover and a brand new song. In many ways, it’s the same concept as Alkaline Trio’s 2011 album Damnesia. Unwritten Law started up like a typical California Skate Punk band, but later went on to transcend into the Alternative Rock and even the Post-Grunge genre. The first three records are pretty great Punk albums, but it’s the later records that have brought them most Modern Rock chart hits. Acoustic, however, is not really what I expected. It sounds like something out of the top 40 charts and it’s not my cup of tea at all. Often making acoustic versions of songs can show how good the songs actually are, but I feel like for many of these songs, the opposite happens, in an acoustic packaging, some of the songs show their shortcomings and I find it difficult to tell “Oblivion” and “Save Me” apart.

On quite a few tracks they try the whole “Acoustic-pop-reggae thing”, and sound like a mix between newer Simple Plan and Jason Mraz, this is prominent in “Save Me”, “Nevermind” and the brand new song “Belongs to You”. “Starships” also sounds a bit like Sublime. They also do a cover of the John Legend and MSTRKRFT song “Huartbreaker”, what’s up with the turntable scratching?

The original “Up All Night” sounds like the bastard child of Good Charlotte and Sum 41, and still does on the acoustic version. “Celebration” sounds less like POD and more like something generic on the radio, but the chorus is still quite catchy and it reminds me of “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” by The Four Lads. For what it’s worth, I would have to add that the instrumentation and musicianship on the album are great. And for me the highlights on the album are “Teenage Suicide” (that was originally on their eponymous album), that they turned into a Folk Punk song and sounded more like what I expected from the album. The piano on “Seeing Red” is a nice touch and the Jazz Organ on “I Like That Way” might be my favorite thing on the entire record. “Cailin”, the song about singer Scott Russo’s daughter might be better than the album version (also on Unwritten Law) and I think it’s simply beautiful. Like I’ve already said, this is not my cup of tea and I wouldn’t fully openly recommend it, unless you’re a huge fan of the band.

RH

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