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Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The - The Hell or High Water EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 5.5
Musicianship 7
Lyrics 6
Production 4.75
Creativity 4
Lasting Value 2
Reviewer Tilt 1.5
Final Verdict: 44%
Member Ratings
Vocals 4.11
Musicianship 4.53
Lyrics 4.03
Production 4.03
Creativity 3.72
Lasting Value 3.86
Reviewer Tilt 4.08
Average: 41%
Inside AP.net

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, The - The Hell or High Water EP

Reviewed by: Thomas Nassiff (09/06/10)
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - The Hell or High Water EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: August 24, 2010


The demise of a band is something that is challenging to write about. How does one get readers engaged in a review about a release that isn't worth listening to? It's certainly not the easiest task to tackle, and I find myself in this predicament when writing about The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus' Hell or High Water EP. The group's debut full-length, Don't You Fake It, was the soundtrack to many of my boring days of summer after sophomore year of high school. Filled with well-placed screams alongside smooth melodies by then-talented vocalist Ronnie Winter, the Florida quintet were paced by quality guitar work and good but simple lyrics. I eagerly anticipated their next release, then Lonely Road let the air out of the potential of this band, falling flat with only two tracks worth much of anything.

As their first release since parting ways with Virgin Records, The Hell or High Water EP picks up right where Lonely Road left off in the disappointment category. While the instrumentation still has some worth, especially the guitar work, Winter's vocals are at times unbearable . The screams are mind-bogglingly bad in some spots and his melodies have turned sickeningly sweet with time. Opener "Casting the First Stone" exemplifies a bit of each of these drawbacks, starting with a strange verse that shows shades of one of the worst tracks on Lonely Road, "You Better Pray".

A well-constructed guitar line carries "Choke" and the listener thinks things might be picking up a little with a more Don't You Fake It-centered sound. However, the track never really hits a high point and the lyrics are weak. Poor lyrics become a bit of a theme on the record, as "Don't Hate" has the gem of "You can do you / 'Cause Im'ma do me / And there's not a damn thing you will achieve." Absolutely invigorating. The title track and "Will You Stand" delve into new definitions of the term 'futility' in respect to gang vocals.

Where is the band that wrote "The Grim Goodbye" and "Atrophy"? Everything on this EP is worse than Red Jumpsuit's previous releases, including the production, proving that Winter should stick to the microphone and leave the behind-the-boards work to others. "On My Own", which was streamed for a day here on AP.net, proves to be a standout, if you can call it that. In the end, this really just speaks volumes about the quality of the other songs, with closer "21 And Up" being the worst offering.

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus went for a grand slam here, perhaps in an attempt to get Lonely Road out of the minds of some old fans. They attempted a more aggressive angle, but instead of reverting back to the roots that made them immensely popular at one time, they seemingly have incorporated an embarrassing southern rock style into their sound that fits in like a werewolf at the vampire table. On the bright side, after the swing-and-a-miss that is The Hell Or High Water EP, this band have nowhere to go but up.

Recommended If You LikeA fusion between Nickelback and Don't You Fake It?
Follow Me On TwitterI get into amusing arguments with users that hate staff members.
Bare Essentials1. Casting the First Stone
2. Choke
3. Don't Hate
4. Hell Or High Water
5. Will You Stand
6. On My Own
7. 21 And Up
Star Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars
Produced By: Ronnie Winter, Run Time: 23 minutes
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Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 204.
03:57 AM on 09/06/10
#2
aradiantsunrise
i'm not as dumb as i am
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Can't believe how irrelevant this band has become.
05:48 AM on 09/06/10
#3
Akissforher
City Love
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Can't believe how irrelevant this band has become.

I can. Seeing them live absolutely killed it for me.
05:55 AM on 09/06/10
#4
ljmorris
...
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forced to watch these dudes at soundwave a few years ago before DEP so bad.
06:32 AM on 09/06/10
#5
2LW
I'm starting to decompose
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I don't get what the twitter drop was for, but I lol'd. Such a shame these guys went downhill.
06:34 AM on 09/06/10
#6
Ryan Gardner
@RyanGardnerC
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Looks like I won't even be checking this out. I couldn't even listen to Lonely Road even after loving DYFI.

Good review, Thomas.
06:46 AM on 09/06/10
#7
trappedintime
Yea, you were right about me
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RIP RJA

x
06:49 AM on 09/06/10
#8
introduction
You're not real musician!
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introduction's Avatar
I never saw anything special about the band in the first place, but I agree that the southern sound they seem to be going for lately is slightly bewildering.
07:27 AM on 09/06/10
#9
vivatoto56
Nice Try, The Devil
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I guess I'm the black sheep.

I enjoyed this EP, at least for a few days.
08:06 AM on 09/06/10
live.
Feenay! Fee hee hee hee heenay!
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live.'s Avatar
2009 AOTY. Oh wait...
08:20 AM on 09/06/10
natedoggvb
Regular Member
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Biggest disappointment waiting all day to see them at Warped. Terrible live. Their first release still reminds me of that summer every time i hear a song from it. Their other stuff makes me throw up in my mouth a bit.
08:50 AM on 09/06/10
Young Machetes
Wasteland Explorer
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I can. Seeing them live absolutely killed it for me.
I've sadly had to sit through four live sets of theirs. Thankfully, they performed one of their sets well, around the time they were popular on the radio a few years ago.

The subsequent times, they were absolutely terrible. I don't know what happened to this band, The Grim Goodbye was such a good song.
09:01 AM on 09/06/10
Echo Park
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i totally understand when a band makes a great first LP and then fizzles out after that. Many have done it, but maybe not to such an extreme: Finch, TBS, AVA, DGD, Hoobastank, Unwritten Law, Story of the Year, ok maybe some have done it to such an extreme. The problem is they're no longer in the same mindset that made them write their first LP, and unfortunately I don't see them doing it again.
09:22 AM on 09/06/10
cubine
www.facebook.com/truthunderattack
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so is this an even steeper downhill slide than Fight Fair had?
09:23 AM on 09/06/10
jaredohgren
I'm just an artist on a shelf.
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i totally understand when a band makes a great first LP and then fizzles out after that. Many have done it, but maybe not to such an extreme: Finch, TBS, AVA, DGD, Hoobastank, Unwritten Law, Story of the Year, ok maybe some have done it to such an extreme. The problem is they're no longer in the same mindset that made them write their first LP, and unfortunately I don't see them doing it again.
DGD as in Dance Gavin Dance?
Because they didn't really fizzle out. All of their releases are good and different from each other and they haven't really lost their fan base.
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