I can't wait for this record, sadly, I don't know if in a good way or in a bad way. I loved both Reach For The Sun and War Paint (I got the tree from RFTS tatted) and their music always moves me, but a lot of controversy indeed got me skeptical. Early reviews like this one hopefully will calm my doubt and when the record finally comes out, I'll be able to tell for myself how good it is.
I think this will be somewhat polarizing for many fans of the band. Not in polarizing way in which the band completely abandons its sound, but polarizing in that some fans will love that they've refined the sound from previous albums while other fans will find it a little same-y and wish for something a little different. Then you have me who's just whatever and hated the band for a while but gave this album a chance and really liked it. IMO I think they've perfected or came close to perfecting the sound on previous albums and I love AJ's raspy/urgent vocals while some others won't.