A.R.E. Weapons

Modern Mayhem

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For all of the recklessness and curled lip swagger that NYC's A.R.E. Weapons try to inject into their appropriately titled Modern Mayhem, there's just something missing to really sell the guys as being any sort of company you'd want for a night of questionable decisions on the Lower East Side. Their punkified electro-rock is altogether hollow sounding, but the trash and grit strewn about songs like "Let's Go to Times Square" and "Keys Money Cigarettes" still make their calculated chaos an easy sell to fans of their previous work. And it's all mildly amusing and fun enough that if everyone else really tried, they might find A.R.E. Weapons -- or at least Modern Mayhem -- almost likeable. The lyrics are simple, easy to sing along to after barely one listen, and hastily sung over bare production evoking that of albums recorded a few decades ago. The group elicits a slight likeness to the Ramones and Stooges, which is fun by association, but really, the Weapons only wish they possessed the sort of genuine edge those bands did. But in the end, the main problem with the record is that it's simply unmemorable, not to mention leaving the nagging question of why any band (or any group of friends) from New York (especially those trying to appear as bad ass as these guys) would willingly choose to hang out at (and glorify it no less!) the crowded tourist trap that is Times Square?

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