MAD AT THE WORLD- Hope
Mad at the World was a unique band unlike any other in christian music in the 80's and early 90's. Owing to the success of the Rose comeback Songs for the Ritually Abused (see my album review), Randy Rose was able to convince his brother Roger Rose to come out of retirement, and the two set about to bring Mad at the World into the new millennium. The Rose brothers crowdfunded their new album Hope, named for its message, and maybe also for their mother, with the stated plan of recreating MATW's 3 distinct sonic phases with a series of 3 new albums, if the fans allowed. The albums Mad at the World and Flowers in the Rain were the band's synth-pop, even goth period- which Hope sets out to revisit. The albums Seasons of Love, Boomerang, and Through the Forest represent their foray into hard rock/ metal (and our Heaven's Metal readers' favorites). The band's final 2 albums The Ferris Wheel and Dreamland Cafe brought another unexplained style change as the boys reverted to a retro 60's Beatles-esque pop sound. Future music could follow these distinct eras of MATW history.
Hope is indeed a return to the band's early synth-pop sound and nary a guitar will be heard on the album- only synthesizers, drums, analog production, and Roger's melodious voice- much to the delight of any fans of mid 80's new wave still out there. Some of it sounds like the band's early period, but missing are the dark and edgy sounds of songs like "Dancing on Your Grave, " "Puppet Strings," or even "Mad the World" (either version). Roger's faux British accent from the first couple albums is AWOL, as well. Hope leads off with "Healing on Planet Earth" which sounds enough like early Duran Duran that it must be a play on their song "Planet Earth." "You are Free" is the most clear expression of the band's message. "Moving In and Moving Out" is written by Randy Rose and sounds like it would fit right in with the plodding, fuzzed out sound on his latest Rose disc. "Never Gonna Stop" starts with a drumbeat and vocals that almost revisit Flowers in the Rain's darker side, but then ends up in a much poppier direction. Roger's vocals shine through on the ballad "Can You Feel My Pain?" The pace picks up again on "That's What He Said" and then slows for the Randy Rose- penned "Just Beyond the Clouds of Gray." Wait! Are those guitars I hear in "Break Me Down" ? My heart quickens. The album closes with "You Belong to Me," which has great lyrics about God's unwavering love for us, but in a poppy format that doesn't win over this listener. Overall, I'm overjoyed to see Mad at the World back in action and excited about the possibility of another new album with a full band in the hard rock/ metal vein, however I'd pick either of the band's first 2 albums over this one. Cd is available in mini LP digipack form. Show some love for these guys if you want to see more. (indie- www.madattheworld.net) 3 out of 5 stars