When Ace Troubleshooter released their self-titled debut in 2000, at first listen I knew these guys had something to offer. Even if I wasn't a big fan of their debut, I sensed something was there waiting to break out. A pop punk rock album with an emo flavor? Perhaps. Maybe it's the fact that Ace was born to record The Madness of the Crowds?
The Madness of the Crowds opens with the title track, a fast-paced punk song that isn't the strongest opener, but it'll be a familiar sound to Ace fans. "2:00 Your Time" changes things up immediately by slowing the tempo down for a more thoughtful moment. The song reflect's lead singer John Warne's experiences with calling his girlfriend while they're on the road on the west coast, forgetting about the time changes and always waking her up. The rock kicks in quickly with Warne's vocals more passionate than previous tracks. "Have It All" is a infectious guitar riff-driven rocker where the punk takes a seat making way for more straight-up rock and roll. Unfortunately, after hearing the golden sounds it's hard to go back to the punk sounds of songs like "Amanda," although those tracks are usually a little too fun to pass by.
The more emo-flavored "Estella" serves as a strong album highlight in the same vein as "Have It All." Warne's vocals work well softer and more passionate. It's clear that the songwriting is stronger than on their previous effort. The instrumentation is a little more complex than the typical punk songs and has more feeling. "But for Grace" is a hard hitting rock song, the ugly duckling on the record (but everyone loves the ugly duckling, right?), which serves up a more modern rock sound. "Let's Go Away" is a great pop punk song about just running away with the one you love and enjoying life together. "Numinous" picks up where "Estella" left off with it's ear pleasing beat and more melodic composition.
The Madness of the Crowds is the pop punk rock album to own. Ace Troubleshooter has firmly placed themselves among the ranks of the elite rock bands. Brave the madness of the crowds on June 18th and pick this one up.- Review date: 6/16/02, written by John DiBiase
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