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ALBUM REVIEW: Acoustic – Unwritten Law

UNWRITTEN LAW are an America rock band, formed in 1990 in Poway, California. Over the years they have seen extensive line-up changes resulting in some material being re-recorded to reflect the new members, with the fresh takes on their older material allowing for them to remain relevant, but also left a want for more newer offerings.

Their eighth studio album and first acoustic record, Acoustic is due for release on April 1 2016. It’s all those favourite songs but without the electrics, instead being shone in a different light in an attempt to display the genuine writing talent of these artists. The track listing consists of eleven acoustic versions of previously released UNWRITTEN LAW tracks, as well as renditions of Belongs To You written by Scott Russo, and Heartbreaker originally performed by John Legend.

The album opens with Celebration, which originally appeared on Here’s To The Mourning (2005), then again on their best of album The Hit List (2007), and now again on this acoustic album. It immediately raises issues with the current stream of inspiration running through the bands camp at the moment, with an obvious lack of drive to produce new material being present.

Due to the nature of UNWRITTEN LAW, the acoustic songs aren’t a huge departure to their original release. It seems like they had a goal with this album which obviously hasn’t been realised in any large way through out the album. This album is pleasing enough to listen to, it just isn’t different enough to warrant re-releasing these songs. Which also highlights just how desperate this band require new material in order to give a fresh burst of life into the band. Having pleasant acoustic rendition is nice additional content, but for a whole album, it become tedious.

Another thing that has changed for this album, is certain track names have been shortened: Shoulda Known Better is now Shoulda, and Celebration Song is now Celebration, for example. This is interesting, as the band clearly want this album to be viewed as something different to the rest of their back catalogue…either that or the laziness simply leaked through to the song titles as well.

Furthermore, some of the lyrics have been changed slightly, e.g. in Shoulda Known Better a name is changed from Jonny to Scotty, which, for those who know the songs previously, is off-putting. This song in particular felt a bit lacklustre in comparison to the original which, despite the morbid topic, always got a foot tapping and enthusiastic singing along.

Whilst it is clear that these songs are enjoyable to listen to, it becomes desperately apparent throughout the expanse of this record that without the injection of new material into the mix, no matter how pleasant or nice these acoustic renditions may sound, it simply isn’t enough to warrant a full release.

Rating: 4/10

Unwritten Law

Acoustic is set for release on April 1st via Cyber Tracks.

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Distorted Sound Issue 24 COVER