The Files You Have on Me

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Waterdown's second album is yet another entry into the brooding metal-punk crossover sweepstakes. You've heard a lot of these attributes before: the alternation of gravelly hoarse speak-scream vocals with pained anthemic yearning ones, the grinding ominous melodies and chord progressions, the insertion of more tuneful and hooky bridges with harmonies that verge on pop. And the words are not happy Valentine's Day messages, not on an album whose first song begins, "Every single day on every job, they make things go from bad to worse." It's not-so-quiet desperation and a bleak, hopeless view of a society that's crushing and suffocating its underlings. In its unflinching despair of a world going to hell, it fits in well with the vibe of life in the early 2000s, but isn't exactly what the times need. The last half of the disc does change the focus to interpersonal relationships, and not in much more of a hopeful light, with "Decaffeinated" painting a more or less conventional confused breakup scenario and "Going Back" looking back on the collapse of the good times.

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