rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Dinosaur
02. Medusa (Stone)
03. Sick
04. Two Of Us (Stuck)
05. Ambulance
06. Sideways
07. Get In Line
08. Head In The Clouds
09. Hearts Too Wild
10. Summer Song

THEORY OF A DEADMAN came onto the scene in 2002 with their self-titled debut, a Chad Kroeger-produced set of guitar-driven post-grunge that played perfectly for the times. Things really got rolling for the Canadian rock band a few years later, when hits such as "Santa Monica", "So Happy", "By the Way" and "Bad Girlfriend" took off.

At the heart of THEORY OF A DEADMAN's success was always a party-happy style. Songs such as "Bad Girlfriend" play to the BUCKCHERRY and SAVING ABEL contingent, with wild lyrics about girls gone wild and late-night antics. While THEORY OF A DEADMAN moved away from that sound on their latest album, 2020's serious and socially conscious "Say Nothing", classic fans can celebrate the return of fun-times THEORY on the band's new record, "Dinosaur".

The album starts off with title track "Dinosaur" offering huge guitar riffs, groovy rhythms and a slight twang. This is classic THEORY, with straight-ahead riff rock and a "Hate My Life" kind of theme. "Medusa (Stone)" is the "Bad Girlfriend" of the set, with Connolly singing about a girl who uses and abuses him, gets him popping pills and turns him into a bad boy — but he keeps going back for more. "Sick" is musically very different for THEORY, with alternative rock leanings and a warm, WEEZER-esque chorus.

"Ambulance" is an interesting one, with big rock guitars and Connolly doing a kind of rap-rock, but more Anthony Kiedis than Fred Durst. This song takes on an almost funk-rock character, as Connolly rhymes about going out on a Friday night and partying it up. "Sideways" brings some freshness and variety to "Dinosaur", with its piano-driven character.

Elsewhere, "Get In Line" is a hard-hitting rocker, with sharp guitars and big rock hooks. "Head in the Clouds" and "Hearts Too Wild" truly sound like country ballads, with their warm, twangy choruses, storytelling lyrics and dreamy vocals. The album ends with another "Bad Girlfriend"-type song called "Summer Song". It's not a summer song, but instead, a song about a girl named Summer who is something of a bad influence on Connolly.

While THEORY OF A DEADMAN return to their thematic party roots here, musically, they dabble in country and even funk rock, which makes this a different set for them. The fact they're evolving 20 years in is refreshing, even if they shine most on the traditional.

Author: Dom Lawson
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