Uplifter's production was not bad in my opinion, I liked the music alright and it sounded nice but the lyrics were pretty bad even for 311. Universal Pulse sounded dead though. Literally everything seemed lifeless, which is not good for a band like 311. I love this band and have supported every release. I just feel like this album will be much better than the last 2.
I'm actually the opposite. Universal Pulse had a full of life sound to the album. It was a great singalong album that translated well into their live show. Uplifter was hard to listen to. If they added Hey You, It's Alright, Daisy Cutter, and Never Ending Summer on Universal Pulse and made it a 12 song album, I think it would've been more well received.
I think UP is a solid collection, but just not well produced. Chad is better served behind the drums, it seems. Apparently, they played a few earlier mixes of songs on the cruise that sounded much richer, so I'd love to hear those versions.
I'm an Uplifter apologist - I really like the album, despite it being the least favorite (it varies with DTOM) of many 311 fans. But there's a lot wrong with it. No flow, forgettable slow songs, a terrible choice for an opener (Jackpot or Never Ending Summer would have been a much better choice), and some other serious issues.
But everything they're saying about the new album sounds promising - hopefully most of what they say comes true.