[1 July 2007]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
It had to happen sooner or later: a band that actually cites Silverchair as a major musical influence. Heaven help us. The American-sounding Australian trio certainly has cornered the whole post-grunge shtick, from the turgid, downtuned guitar riffs, to the mind-numbing, lethargic tempos, to the early-90s angst that still seems to sell well, but underneath all the drudgery lies some potential that could be realized, that is, if the band actually decides to stop aping Godsmack and Nickelback. The snarky “Cancer” works well as an aggressive tune, the vocal melodies of “What Are You looking For” make up for the cement-headed arrangement, and breakthrough power ballad “All the Same” (thanks in part to its hugely popular video), though painfully maudlin and awkwardly performed, has a sincerity that 30 Seconds to Mars lacks. Sadly, the hooks are too often usurped by the kind of murky music that should have died out a decade ago, as songs like “Pitiful”, “Deliverance”, “Issues”, and (oh, for goodness’ sake) “Asshole Father” render Dressed Up as Life as little more than another lame grunge imitation, further perpetuating a musical fad, nay, plague, that still will not go away. Tune up, grow up, and cheer up, children.