SOS

A Guide to Better Living

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AllMusic Review by

As any member of Def Leppard, Meat Loaf or Guns N' Roses (except Axl Rose) would attest, no rock band goes five years between studio albums on purpose, and Queens, NY's SOS are clearly trying to make up for lost time with the 17 tracks crammed into their third album, 2006's A Guide to Better Living. What's more, they also seem to be cramming a dozen musical styles into those songs, resulting in a mind-boggling mix that would be inspiring if the end results -- eclectic though they may be -- didn't sound so half-baked most of the time. Yes, a few hybrids, such as the funk metal of "Star Killers," the alt rock meets thrash of "Everything Must Go," and the uncomplicated, driving hard rock of "Can't Stop," manage to hit their marks with unexpected benefits, but most everything else on hand ultimately disappoints, confuses, or simply strikes out completely. Let's see..."Scenic Route," "Old No. 7," "Rub & Tub," and "Bumblefuck" (with its shrieking axe work) offer mostly riff-driven, '90s style nowheresville heavy rock; "Slut" and "Middle Ground" go for that grinding, grungy mood metal sound that half of Seattle overdid and ruined long ago; while "No Miracle" and "Dead Before Noon" feature utterly forgettable alt rock in the image of early days Goo Goo Dolls. Wait, it gets worse: "Hopeless" constitutes half a song's worth of melodic hardcore à la Social Distortion; "Killing Time," some kind of awful acoustic folk; "Amputee," a bossa nova trip straight to hell; "The Wedding Guy," a detour into comedy rock-rap terrain reminiscent of Licensed to Ill-era Beasties. And, for a final kick in the head, there's this tongue-in-cheek accordion tarantella "thing" called "Venice," that may or may not be a tribute to Cake! Cap it off with sporadic synthesized beats and sounds, and an all-encompassing production fiasco (where's Mutt Lange when you need him?), and SOS obviously let these songs marinate a bit too long for their own good.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
SOS
3:14
2
SOS
2:45
3
SOS
5:16
4
SOS
3:46
5
SOS
2:49
6
SOS
1:29
7
SOS
2:24
8
SOS
1:57
9
SOS
3:54
10
SOS
4:41
11
SOS
1:53
12
SOS
4:49
13
SOS
2:47
14
SOS
3:30
15
SOS
2:57
16
SOS
3:02
17
SOS
7:56
18
SOS
0:05
blue highlight denotes track pick