Release Date: August 19, 2003
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum

The smooth criminals are back. Alien Ant Farm, who gained mainstream success with a tongue-in-cheek rock rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”, has released truANT, the follow-up album to 2001’s ANThology.

Before hitting the studio to record the new album, the band was in a major bus crash in Spain. The crash left lead singer Dryden Mitchell seriously hurt (he had to wear a halo for months) and understandably added some levity to his songwriting. Much of the fun bounce of ANThology is gone and in its place is a disc full of relationship rock. Of course there are a few exceptions, like “Glow”, but the guitars are thicker and Mitchell’s lyrics are even a bit negative. In “Sarah Wynn” he places the direct blame on a failed relationship on a girl named Sarah because she had too many personal issues.

The first single, “These Days”, also embodies the new feeling. Despite a fun video of the band playing the song on the rooftop across from the BET awards, the song itself is three minutes of dealing with probably the same troubled relationship. “Smooth Criminal” certainly broke this band, but it was the first single “Movies” that warmed the ice and got the band out on bigger tours in front of more fans. “These Days” is a solid song but doesn’t have the same unique kind of hook that “Movies” did.

This sophomore release does see the band growing musically. They play with their guitar sounds, using more distortions. The emphasis is more on the guitars rather than Tye Zamora’s bass. And, the group uses keyboards, congas and even some brass. “Never Meant” is a sorrowful ballad with a sad backing saxophone that perfectly emphasizes Mitchell’s loneliness.

Sadly the band will lose many of the casual fans that picked up ANThology after the cover, but the core fan base will enjoy truANT regardless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.