Lostprophets The Betrayed track by track guide
A CDR copy of Lostprophets' fourth album, The Betrayed, landed on the BBC Wales Music desk this morning. Now that they're self-produced and after three years of adversity, how do they sound?
We leave actual criticism of records to our colleagues at BBC Music so this is a guide simply to the sound of each song.
If It Wasn't For Hate We'd Be Dead By Now
Is the much-mooted dark sound in evidence? Well, there's a gritty, grimy sound to the lead track and an almost goth keyboard sound running through. Ian's vocal is backed by an insistent, nagging bleeping at the edge of hearing. It certainly maintains the big sound we've come to expect from Lostprophets, but there's certainly a more caustic edge in evidence.
Dstryr And Dstryr
Leads on seamlessly from the first track and maintains the energy level and sound. There's a big hook to the chorus and some proper 'Prophets call-and-response shouty bits. It ends like Sleep Now In The Fire by Rage Against The Machine, and Lee Gaze goes mental on his guitar.
It's Not The End Of The World But I Can See It From Here
The first single from the album, released back in November, it's got a Godzilla-sized chorus and enough whoa-whoahs to make Jon Bon Jovi weep. Again there's some serious fret abuse going on, and it stands up with the likes of Burn Burn as one of their more abrasive hit singles.
Where We Belong
Straight into another single to be taken from the album and this is a softer affair in the mould of Goodbye Tonight or 4am Forever. The lyrics return to the Braveheart school of rallying pre-battle speeches. Not that there's anything wrong with that of course. It's a glittering, shiny pop song with a mournful edge.
Next Stop Atro City
First part of a title-punning duo of songs, this kicks off like Refused or some other post-hardcore rabble with a distorted vocal, and then erupts into a high-tempo, hard-edged affair. That said, the chorus lifts it out of 'punk' rock by some margin. Driven by possibly their fastest-ever drum beat, it's over almost as soon as it begins. This is definitely a moshpit song rather than a radio song.
For He's A Jolly Good Felon
Having set a low bar with the preceding pun, this title ranks as one of my favourite of all time. As far as the song goes, it recalls a Billy Talent melody (can't for the life of me remember which song, though) set to a pseudo-ska beat. It's definitely got new wave leanings in the verse, and then suddenly the chorus take it into familiar territory.
A Better Nothing
A slow-burning start builds with synth and echoey guitar strains for almost a minute before Ian's vocals come in in a first person monologue. Rhetorical questions abound as he wonders how he'll feel "when I leave this town, broken and burning with the memories we once found". Then comes one of their biggest choruses yet, all fist-pumping stadium rock. The underpinning guitars are a high-pitched squall, but the whole track sounds weightily produced with many layers of sound.
Streets Of Nowhere
Crikey. This is jaunty. A fast-paced rock'n'roll 4/4 beat underpins a wurlitzer, a Britpop guitar sound and some quickfire vocals. Suddenly Ian's la-la-la-ing and the chorus comes from an entirely different song, all 80s power pop. The middle eight again sounds completely different with soft (female?) whispered ooohs and then the la-la-las come back in again. The chorus is as catchy as anthrax even if the song sounds like five welded together.
Dirty Little Heart
Another new wave-esque keyboard intro and then into a verse that in a what-goes-round-comes-round sort of thing sounds like The Blackout. The chorus returns to the territory of the downtempo Start Something tracks. It could be another single, if they do a radio edit cutting down the fuzzed-up keyboard and gritty percussion outro.
One of the crunchiest intros to a song in their repertoire, Darkest Blue explodes out of the box and then falls away into a sparse verse with a guitar sound that recalls U2's The Edge in style. The chorus returns to layer-upon-layer of pop thrills and widdling guitar and again could pave the way for a single release.
The Light That Burns Twice As Bright
In the tradition of rock album closers, The Light... is epic in feel from the off: hushed vocal whisperings atop portentous instrumentation and a slow-building crescendo of layers. Two thirds of the way in, it explodes into a distortion-heavy, wobbling, claustrophobic welter of bass thrums, keyboard repetition and Ian intoning "This is how it feels". Stuart Richardon's production techniques are at their most on display, open to the elements here as he breaks the song down into an arrhythmic, dissonant coda.