We all remember the moment when it was obvious that the Police were finished: it was when we turned over our new copies of the Synchronicity album and saw a picture of a somber, shirtless Sting solemnly reading a volume of Jung, holding it up to make sure the camera registered the author. Open the jewel case of Thought Riot's second album, and it's worse: there are all the band members, each in a separate photo, and each reading a book: Bryan Fantastic's is carefully positioned so you can see it's by Camus, and Marc Riot ups the ante by wearing -- get this -- a Nietzsche t-shirt (Undying will? Nietzsche? Get it?). Hopefully they meant this as some kind of self-parody -- though song titles like "I Voted for Nader" and "Hermit of Sils Maria" are not encouraging; the pithy "You're Gonna Die" offers a glimmer of hope. The lyrics are mostly not bad, though, and the music nicely straddles a fine line between claustrophobic youth-crew precision, and exuberant old-school punk bluster. Highlights include the eminently singable "On New Tablets," and the nicely arranged "Homeland Insecurities." Not bad at all, but I hope they're not too disappointed when it fails to change the world by much.
AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson