Totally inoffensive mess between emo and pop-rock, removing all the energy behind Sum 41 and Billy Talent and mixing it with The Darkness and The New Radicals. Each track is extra-ordinarily antiseptic, sounding more applicable in a hotel elevator than a rock radio station. This lack of power is painfully evident in a track like “Rebel Radio”, where the power of “My Sharona”’s guitar attack is mollified, being mixed with all the theme songs for Disney cartoons. In fact, I could completely hear Paris Texas on a commercial or all-ages TV show; this stuff is beyond toothless. The guitar lines in a track of “White Eyes” has had its soul removed – leaving only the mechanical part (which is solid, I must admit, if not more than a little cliché). However, it is at the middle of “Like You Like An Arsonist” where Paris Texas tailspin and crash – “Your Death” portrays the band as the Boston of punk, the most bloated and fake act to come out. The track mixes all of what is popular in U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Michael Bolton and does nothing to the formula but turn up the distortion slightly.
To be painfully honest, the guitar and bass lines laid down on “Like You Like An Arsonist” are intricate and well-developed, benefiting from a strong dynamic behind the two individuals. Perhaps it was the move from Polyvinyl to New Line that did it, but it really is unfathomable that this band could be on such an illustrious record label (Polyvinyl, not New Line). “Strike My Heart” has a minor hint of what I feel the band used to be – a strong, compelling set of vocals and a rough guitar/drum pairing that is the epitome of rock. “One Hot Coma” is fueled by “Strike My Heart” but has an Alice in Chains-feel that just jinxes the whole track into being all form and very little in the way of substance.
“Like You Like An Arsonist” is an album that is perfect background music,, but once it gets under the careful ear of any listener, one will find that “Like You” is very hard to like, much less tolerate. Tons of aural googahs and guitar hooks doth not an album make. “Hip Replacement” mixes together a staggered sound like Good Charlotte with the vocals of a Mick Jagger in what could be the best track on the disc, benefiting from an off-kilt drum-heavy bridge.
Top Tracks: Strike My Heart, Hip Replacement
Paris Texas – Like You Like An Arsonist / 2004 New Line / 11 Tracks / http://www.paris-texas.com / http://www.newlinerecords.com / Reviewed 24 September 2004