Written by: PP on 18/09/2009 17:49:02

311 are back, fuck yeah. From what has seemed like an eternity since their previous great release - 8 years have passed since 2001's "From Chaos" to be precise with two mediocre releases in between - they've finally managed to meet the expectations one should have about a band of their reputation: "Uplifter" is precisely what its title suggests, a mood uplifting, reggae-based alternative rock record brilliant for sipping your piña coladas underneath palm trees on some tropical island. But not just that, it's full of awesome songs, possibly even some of the best this band has written throughout their 21 year career as a band. Now I know that's a bold statement considering songs like "Champagne", "Amber", "Transistor" and so forth, but bear with me for a moment and you'll arrive at the same conclusion.

The album opener "Hey You" immediately suggests that we're dealing with a huge improvement in confidence, as singer Nick Hexum hasn't sounded this smooth and good since the "Amber" days. His cheerful expression is full of sparkling melody, which translates into an awesome chorus that you can't but sing along with. "It's Alright" follows up with quintessential 311 material, fusing together nu-metal esque guitar instrumentation in the heavy chorus and the relaxing reggae guitar plucking during verses. Although "Hey You" was already a candidate for the best track on the album, then the playful "Mix It Up" blows the roof off this bastard with a ridiculously catchy, yet strangely monotonous chorus delivery that can only be described as unique to 311. Only these guys are able to write from a format that sounds like there's no way it could work to their advantage. "Golden Sunlight" features some gentle strumming, placing this song in the ballad department if you discount for yet another great chorus. "India Ink", another highlight on the record, can almost be lumped into rap rock thanks to its heavily distorted guitars and Hexum's style of singing, but the "woo-ooh are you with me?" chorus almost treads on "Morning View" era Incubus territory. "Daisy Cutter" doesn't make as big of an impression, but it seems that on "Uplifter", even the less flashy tracks are worthy of paying attention to.

There's a couple of more soon-to-be 311 classics coming up, with the Beatles-esque "Too Much Too Fast" first showcasing a previously unseen 60s/70s vibe to the band, followed by the utterly magnificent "Something Out Of Nothing" which goes straight into my top3 best 311 tracks to date. The fusion of guitar distortion, the slightly distorted singing, and the forceful chorus is a winner in my ears, and yours too, if you'll pay attention. There's a few more tracks I haven't touched upon in this review, but lets just call them good tracks as well (because they are), since "Uplifter" is an extremely solid come back album. Must purchase for any alternative rock fan.

Download: Something Out Of Nothing, Hey You, India Ink, Mix It Up
For the fans of: Incubus, Pepper, Sublime, Sugar Ray
Listen: Myspace

Release date 02.06.2009
Volcano Entertainment

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