It's a nearly impossible feat to not find at least one thing to like about A.R.E. Weapons. They cut slithery, bar-brawler-like figures, and yet they mean so well that they're not unlike the unkempt greaseball who takes a break from working on his chopper to help the elderly lady cross the street. If they really are the Bad News Bears they claim to be in "Bad News," they are clones of Kelly Leak -- the troubled rebel slugger with a tough exterior and soft heart. Plus, you have to give them some credit for having the guts to make an entire album in the same mall karaoke booth where Kim Gordon recorded Ciccone Youth's version of "Addicted to Love." To be even more fair, A.R.E. Weapons are more creative than that; there are only snatches of "Love Stinks," "People Who Died," "Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2," and a couple Suicide and early Jesus Lizard songs floating around this album. Besides, the guitars are much more cutting than they are on "Addicted to Love," and the choruses -- like "Don't Be Scared"'s "Dude, that's cool/That's f*ckin' awesome," and "Fuck You Pay Me"'s "F*ck you/Pay Me" -- are phrases waiting to be splattered on pre-ripped and pre-stained tour t-shirts. Cheap machine drums go "thunk," synthetic horn sections go "peep-peep-peep," barking voices go "rama rama ungh," and knuckles go scrape. Hollow and hastily thrown together while carrying this air that each element was carefully calculated, A.R.E. Weapons comes across as partially put-together and all the way dumb -- not dumb meaning fun, but dumb meaning just plain dumb. Perhaps some slack can be cut since they're so cuddly. That's their only saving grace (unless this is your sort of thing), and it's one thing you can't help but like about them.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman