For Fans Of
Unfortunately for bands that peak early it often becomes difficult to maintain the flame of enthusiasm generated by that one brilliant album. Since the tame but effective rock/metal mash up of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’ ‘Don’t You Fake It‘, all efforts thereafter have been following a slowly declining trajectory during which lead singer Ronnie Winter has struggled to hold onto the reigns while the rest of the original members moved on to other things. The band’s most recent offering, released to celebrate 10 years of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, is ‘Et Tu Brute?‘ While occasionally rising above the surface of the mediocre, it does nothing to reignite the fire.
The first track on the EP, ‘The Crazy Ones’, sees Red Jumpsuit make a move for pop rock to the detriment of the raw metal/rock mash up fans and new listeners alike adored, seemingly in the interest of progressing as a band. However this trend disappears hereafter until ‘Remember Me’ where it makes a brief reappearance. Despite Winter’s distinctive clean voice still standing strong, this is a move that doesn’t work well for the band as the poppy sound blends messily with his vocals.
Confusingly for listeners, ‘Wide Is the Gate’ begins much heavier than the previous track, and continues with buckets of guitar chugs and excessive metal guitar grinds that, like the next track ‘Cards,’ embellishes the song and comes across as over the top when compared with the previous track. While vaguely reminiscent of the sound found on ‘Don’t You Fake it‘, ‘Wide Is the Gate‘ still lacks the energy and freshness the band’s first album had going for it, suggesting that instead of standing strong after its twelve years, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are staggering from old age.
In following songs ‘You Can’t Trust Anyone These Days’ Winter rehashes old lyrical themes and throws in some half-hearted screams that are fairly effective and could have been extended to advance a heavier metal sound. Fairly unremarkable, as is the rest of the album, this return to a hard rock sensibility after the odd detour to pop rock, should please current fans but will most likely fail to pull any new listeners in. The EP concludes with ‘Chariot’ that offers a low-key acoustic track to finish off the poor effort, which thankfully likens to the endearing charm and sweetness that found in ‘Your Guardian Angel.’
Perhaps as an avid fan in my adolescence of songs like ‘Damn Regret’ and ‘Face Down’ I’m being too harsh on Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and new listeners and old fans may have an entirely different outlook on ‘Et Tu Brute?’ While the band must be given credit for the 10 years they have been consistently producing music, ‘Et Tu Brute?’ fails to provide listeners with a reason to want to see the band keep going.
1. The Crazy Ones
2. Wide Is The Gate
4. You Can’t Trust Anyone These Days
5. Remember Me