According to Invincible Criminal‘s accompanying press releases, this is Mark Mallman’s most lyric-driven album to date. His decision to change his typically self-deprecating and nihilistic lyrics resulted in a record that Mallman considers “alive, powerful, moving.”
The music itself is reminiscent of Foreigner’s brand of early ’80s rock, replete with optimism and triumphant buildups. Mallman’s own description of his album is accurate here, and while the effort seems genuine throughout, the album somehow falls flat too often—partly due to the overt exuberance of the music, partly due to what seems like strained and affected lyrics. One could be simply expecting something less derivative where innovation is not the aim, and to be fair, the album has its catchy moments. “White Leather Days” is a fun, driving and easily danceable tune. A patina of enjoyment thickens upon repeated listens, but sometimes first impressions are hard to overcome.