Spunky Canadian Punks Alexisonfire - that's pronounced Alexis On Fire, not Alex Is On Fire, apparently in tribute to the "famous" lactating contortionist stripper Alexis Fire, fact fans - return with their latest long player "Crisis". Incidentally, it's also the only album the five-piece have released to date with a title track on. Cracking stuff. Where would we be without PR blurbs, eh?
Alongside The Bled, Finch and The Used, Alexisonfire were one of the early wave of post-hardcore bands that emerged around five years ago, the still-twitching corpse of Nu-Metal allowing them easy passage to a public that had grown bored and disaffected with bands bloated on their own hype and ripped-off riffs. Nu-Metal had died simply because it chose not to progress, and it struck me whilst listening whilst listening to this release that some bands in the post-hardcore movement seem to be stagnating in a similar fashion.
"Crisis" isn't a bad album at all - however it just doesn't offer anything new that we haven't heard from this genre already. It all starts in a swashbuckling enough manner - the rootin' tootin' guitar lines and vocal histrionics of opener "Drunks, lovers, Sinners and Saints" is good for a jump around to, and superb lead single "This Could Be Anywhere In The World" takes the accolade for best song on the album, featuring an ice-cool chorus melody and jittery drum work.
However after this, everything seems to get a bit samey, many of the songs descending into clichéd screaming guff and middle-of-the-road riffola that seems de-jour these days. Not even the good "Keep It On Wax" can restore the equilibrium. There are some good parts, but not enough to make it a wholly memorable experience.
To be fair Alexisonfire aren't the only band that are playing it safe - there are quite a few other high-profile culprits that could be named and shamed. However, sometimes bands do need to re-invent themselves and push the boat out just a little, and Alexisonfire seem to be at that stage. It's better to burn out than fade away chaps.