The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Am I the Enemy?

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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus lost their way with 2009’s Lonely Road, which threw every conceivable genre at the studio wall -- Southern rock, screamo, doo wop, even gospel -- to see what stuck. On Am I the Enemy?, the guys consolidate their strengths and clean up the mess that Lonely Road left behind, focusing instead on the sort of emo-influenced alt-rock that reaches for the rafters without losing sight of the ground. Ronnie Winter wins the “most improved” award; his caterwaul of a voice has grown into something stable, and he resists the urge to turn ballads like “Dive Too Deep” into an overblown showcase for his vocal range. Singing instead of screaming, he leads his bandmates through their most mature album to date, with “Salvation” and “Dreams” standing out as particular highlights. Red Jumpsuit Apparatus may write music for teenagers -- the songs are filled with fist-pumping bravado and carpe diem sentiment, both of which tend to target younger listeners more than their jaded elders, and the very first line of the album reads, “They say that life would be its hardest in your teenage years” -- but Am I the Enemy? still sounds like the product of a band that’s begun to grow up gracefully.

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