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311

Universal Pulse

 

Nick Hexum – Vocals, Rhythm guitar, Programming

Doug "SA" Martinez – Vocals, Turntables, DJ

Tim Mahoney – Lead guitar

Aaron "P-Nut" Wills – Bass

Chad Sexton – Drums, Percussion, Programming

 

            In racking my brain not too many things come out of Nebraska except college football. Well in 1988 a little band formed named 311. This rock band began the slow and steady crawl up the ranks and out of Nebraska.  Since that 1988 start the band has hit stores with 19 total albums and 4 DVDs. Of the 19 total albums 10 have been studio albums. They released a few independent albums before signing with their first record deal in 1992. 1993 seen their first release with the label. They then released albums in 94 and 95. They continued on from that 1995 self-titled release with three more successful albums in 97, 99, and 2001. Their seventh album Evolver came in 2003 which debuted at #7. Album number 9 hit stores in 2009. The album produced by Bob Rock debuted at #3. After the release the guys hit the road with The Offspring. In early 2011 they finished up with their next release Universal Pulse. The album has now hit stores and is ready to continue the bands success. The album features only 8 tracks, but let’s dig in and see if that even matters. The record opens up with “Time Bomb” which opens up with an odd intro. As it continues they add in a little funk to the track to make it a pretty catchy tune. The guitars give the offering some flair while the drums lay down a slow and steady beat. The multiple vocals beat as well as flow and work together. It’s a fun little number that I’m sure will have fans dancing around in good spirits. “Wild Nights” keeps the upbeat style going with a cool number. The tunes are killer with driving drums, high flying guitars, and some extra shit in there to spice it up. The main vocals are smooth and drawn out while the backing vocals swoop in to rattle off a rap style. They complement each other very nicely and blend well for a top notch track. They keep the album going with “Sunset In July.” It slows the album down, but they still keep the track funky with the turntable work. The vocals lay down a smooth set of lyrics and they have some up tempo vocals as well. It’s a descent track that should get most fans excited. I don't think the track will gain them any new fans as it just doesn’t have the complete package. “Trouble” wraps the first half of the album off with an eardrum tingling tune. It has a bit of a reggae feel as it glides along with a huge smile on its face. The tunes cruise by, accompanied by easy listening vocals. “Count Me In” turns up the intensity just a bit; a descent intro that gives way to the norm on the album. The slower laid back style of music mixed with a half rap style of vocals (well one set of them) will have hands, beers, and whatever else fans have on them high in the air. “Rock On” opens up with a heavy guitar and some thick bass. They then toss in some more rap style vocals to top the track off. It really does sound weird with the music they have set with it. I was really digging the tunes in this offering, but the vocals don't do it for me. It really left me on the edge of the fence. “Weightless” says the title way too many times. They do make it flow, but the lyrics just don't cut it. They just lack some creativity to me. The music isn't bad during the tune and the added effect they place in adds depth and spice to the track. It’s just hard to get past how many times they say the title. “And A Ways To Go” seems to just float by on a cloud during a cool summers day. If it wasn’t for the rap vocals that lay down some serious lines it would be a very forgettable track. Overall I have mixed feelings about this album. The rap vocals are actually refreshing to hear and gives you a different sound than you are use to on a rock album. The music is descent as well giving you a platform to dance. The guitars get to fly a couple of times and the drums drive the tracks very well. There is a hint of a thick bass and the turntables as well. There are a couple tracks that I could see being listened to over and over again. There is also a couple that could be skipped. With only having 8 tracks they needed an album without any skip eligible tracks and unfortunately they don't hit it. That fact hurts this album.

 

 

Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Tracks to Watch:

Time Bomb and Wild Nights

 

Track List:

  1. Time Bomb
  2. Wild Nights
  3. Sunset In July
  4. Trouble
  5. Count Me In
  6. Rock On
  7. Weightless
  8. And A Ways To Go

Website (s):  www.311.com

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