What do you get from the remains of The Reunion Show, Count The Stars, and Diffuser? Why, you get the dark yet melodic Action Action! In 2004, this Long Island quartet released their debut album, “Don’t Cut Your Fabric To This Year’s Fashion,” on Victory Records, and it went on to sell 50,000 copies. So after extensive touring and having their first set of demos for the new record stolen, Action Action has released to us their second album off of Victory, titled “An Army Of Shapes Between Wars,” a 13 song melodic voyage through new wave, electronica, and chainsaw guitars. This time around the band added more layers of synths, strings, and programming to compliment the raucous drumming and solid guitars from the previous album. The end result is an album that has a lot of fun, yet lacks the lasting power to be a permanent listen in my iPod.
The album begins with “Smoke And Mirrors” sounding like you just woke up from a dream, then you are hit the face with a buzzing ‘80’s electronica vibe. Kluepfel uses his vocals to make this track sound very British. “Chemical Frustration” combines the synths with the bouncy drumming of Leo, thus making this song a fun toe-tapper. “Sleep Paralysis” is a fast song with slight dark undertones from the rest of the instruments. “The Game” is the first single off of the album, and the intro of this song blatantly reminds me of an old Weezer song. “Paper Cliché” begins with a simple pulsating beat that backs up Kluepfel’s depressing vocals. The chorus of this song is very exceptional; it’s very hard-hitting after the slow beginning and very catchy. “120 Ways To Kill You: An Illustrated Children’s Book” has an organ vibe to it in the beginning, but this song just drags on for too long and it reminds me too much of the Killers. “What Temperature Does Air Freeze At?” is a cute song that again would be better if they cut off 2 minutes or so from this track. Thankfully, the album picks up with “The Other 90% Of The Iceberg,” which is very riveting and the guitars definitely shine on this track. “Analogue Logic” has a huge ‘80’s new wave vibe to it, with thick synths and upbeat drumming. It’s a fun song, but can become annoying after a few listens. The final track of the album “The Blanket Truth” is a fine ballad, mixing ambience with melody, but it can turn boring after a while because of the length. It also doesn’t help that the song ends with about 6 minutes of the same dreary sound that began the album. It really ends the album on a boring note.
In the end, this Army has good intentions, but falls short at the end. While we get a good share of catchy tracks, most of them offer very little lasting power (minus “Paper Cliché” and “The Other 90% Of The Iceberg, which are the two great tracks on the album). At times, this album can drag, but other times it is a really fun record to dance to. If you are looking for something deep and lasting, this isn’t for you. But if you want to have a good time and get a good beat stuck in your head, or you’re a fan of ‘80’s new wave/electronica, then “An Army Of Shapes Between Wars” would be a fine pickup. So while this is not the “new masterpiece” that Victory has been promoting, it is still a decent record that shows a lot of potential for the future.