It sounds great if you're a fan of those earlier tracks, as there's little around like them, but this nostalgia collides with a feeling of year-end fatigue. All of the same features are there: mix-filling white noise, swirling acidic lead lines and unpolished abrasion that threatens to tear your scalp off, or would do, that is, if it weren't so lazy. The thing is, all of the many elements feel like token gestures—and perhaps therein lies the most important difference.
The simple effectiveness of "Mouth to Mouth," which simply didn't need more than one hook, is replaced by a rather uncharacteristic "more is more" philosophy. Like a rabble of squawking condor hatchlings vying for attention from their mother, none of the overlaid riffs succeed in being particularly memorable. Also lacking is his characteristic kick drum which, even alone, could drive a system with the motion of a freight train. It would save things here, but in its place we merely have a heavy plod that carries us through until the record tapers off and fizzles out.
The tradeoff between quality and quantity is well-known, and recently Dear's been forsaking the former for the latter. It would be a shame if this diminished his stellar reputation.