Continuing to mix harder radio-friendly rock with reflective melancholic and melodic ballads, Matthew Good wastes little time getting the fist-pumping polished nuggets out on "Put Out Your Lights." The tune sounds as if it's not quite finished but leads into a meaty and alluring rock-cum-political rant on "Poor Man's Grey." The tune brings to mind fellow Canadian Danko Jones in certain spots, with its simple yet infectious no-nonsense beat. Good returns to his earlier stomping ground on the lovely "We're So Heavy," with ample twists and turns from melancholia to urgency and back, recalling R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." What is also noticeable is Good's turn toward some roots or country leanings on folksy tunes such as "Empty Road" and especially the hidden track at the album's end. The album's lead single is "Alert Status Red," which pokes at America's heightened tension surrounding terrorism. Rarely has something so lyrically deep come off so infectiously, coming complete with handclaps. "In Love With a Bad Idea" doesn't work quite as well, sounding like a quick poppy run-through. A vast improvement is the power pop meets Replacements punk of the tight "North American for Life." Here former Odds drummer Pat Steward shines. Perhaps the best one-two punch on the album begins with "Blue Skies Over Bad Lands," containing all the traits of a solid Good tune -- deliberate, slow-building musicianship leading into a grand and lengthy anthem such as his previous hit, "Apparition." What ensues is his soulful side on the tender, blues-tinged "Been a While Since I Was Your Man." Perhaps the oddest song is "Ex-Pats of the Mountain Symphony Orchestra," which contains all the earmarks of a track by the Who, especially "Won't Get Fooled Again."
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil