Masters of the Hemisphere Protest A Dark Anniversary

Thankfully, the Masters Of The Hemisphere got most of their weirdness out of their system with their last release, the peculiar concept album I Am Not A Freemdom, a record that both excited and frightened folks in equal measure. The third album, however, sees them returning to normality and even addressing a few more serious issues, albeit in a jangly and happy pop kind of way. Protest A Dark Anniversary is a strange album that creeps up on you slowly and in the most peculiar way; there are half a dozen songs that turn out to be spectacularly good, while the remainder are decidedly average. The two real gems are the opener "Anything, Anything," which is reminiscent of the Cure's "In Between Days," and the more melancholy "Rules Of Life," but the good songs are so very magnificent that they are actually worth the price of admission on their own. Yet the conundrum of why the Masters Of The Hemisphere can't seem to sustain their greatness for the entire duration of an album remains. They obviously do have the potential to make a great album, but this one is only halfway there. (Kindercore)