Firstly, I am a huge fan of I Don't Know What I'm Doing so I had very high expectations for Out of It. I was not disappointed.
The progression in the quality of production from the first album to Out of It is immediately apparent. Much improved. (Note: I am listening to the 128k mp3 tracks. Bet the sound on the CD is superb!)
Unfortunately (IMO), this album lost to the Loudness War. It is brick walled mastered (you can learn all about it at Turn Me Up!), and according to Audacity it's clipping--fortunately you don't notice it (at least I don't). Unlike the totally unacceptable horrendous clipping all over the place on Metallica's new album, Death Magnetic. Death Magnetic contains some of the best music (and worst lyrics) Metallica has put out since ...And Justice for All but the sound quality is horrible. A real shame. Death Magnetic (according to rumors floating around on the net) was delivered to the mastering engineer in that state--what could he do? You can't remove clipping in post-production.
But I digress...
I don't see brick walling on the I Don't Know What I'm Doing tracks. What's up with that? New mastering engineer? Fortunately Out of It still sounds really good. I'm just really curious, what would it have sounded like if more dynamics had been left in the mix?
The drum sound & patterns are very good, my only complaint is the percussion is in your face on most of the tracks. The drums are just mixed too loud. Everything else seems to be mixed at levels complimentary to the songs--it's just that the drums can be a little overwhelming on some of the songs.
The acoustic guitar sounds superb and is used extensively throughout the album to great effect.
The electric guitar sounds pretty cool in my headphones (not iPod). Unfortunately they sound a little muddy in my car--what can ya do? It's probably my crappy stock car stereo. I should play it in my wife's car--much better sound system.
The lyrics make the songs of course. I just wonder what this fascination with dying & suicide is all about--metaphor, I'm sure (well, I hope anyway)? Artists?! Sometimes you just can't figure them out... Personally, as I was climbing my ladder yesterday to cut limbs from the tress, I was not amused at the thoughts of falling to my death, and I certainly wasn't interested in causing myself personal injury/death by intentionally jumping! (I hate heights enough as it is.) Can't make (or listen to) much music when your impaled on your fence. I'm sure I'm missing the point of some of the songs--still enjoy them.
The synth fills & bridges are tastefully done and add just the right touch to the songs. Effective and not overdone.
The musical arrangements are very well done and you can tell a lot of work and attention to detail were put into them. It all comes together into a really great album....
Dropping out of School (The intro was just right for the opening track, definitely. It moves you right from I Don't Know What I'm Doing into the new album. "The teachers are coming to jump you at recess", I guess they save the cop from being killed by "me and my friends... at recess." The hyper-compressed electric guitar is an, uh, interesting choice.)
Certain Death (Very cool intro. Nice I Don't Know What I'm Doing feel. "Certain Death, haven't had the heart to yet"? Lyrics, most of the time you have no idea what an artist is thinking! LOL)
Fake It (What can I say? It's got it all. The guitar tones are just right. The mix is right on. The lyrics and vocals rule. This song and Out of It are my favorites!)
Bad Sign (I really like the guitar parts, they fit the song just right. Nice mix, including the drums)
There's Something Wrong ("Everybody says it's funny, but I can't say it seems very funny to me." Mix is good.)
Gasoline ("Every time we disagree there's a place you go to because I drove you there.")
Total Breakdown ("You're gonna do what you want." Oh how true it is (sigh). Why do the vocals remind me of a rocking version of the Beach Boys?)
Understood by Your Dad (The drum pattern is awesome. Love how the chorus follows the guitar line. Really rocks.)
Out of It (I totally love this song!)
You're not Going Anywhere (Bold intro. Single track of vocals and it sounds great.)
Overall it comes in at a solid in my book.
I really like this album. It's professionally produced, original, catchy, interesting, very well done, and I highly recommend it!
I want Brad to produce my album!
A note from Brad's website (See the little logo below? if you don't know what Creative Commons licensing is, check it out. It's an artists best friend.):
please steal this cd
I'd appreciate it if you'd copy Out of It and share with your friends. High quality MP3s are also included on the CD if you'd like to send them around.