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Alien Ant Farm - TruANT
by Linda Spielman

It’s been over two years since Alien Ant Farm’s debut CD “ANThology” launched the band from obscurity into the public eye with the punk/pop remake of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal”. The Southern Cali alternative band is back with their newly released sophomore effort entitled “TruANT”. The quirky quartet, known  for their diverse musical influences and self admitted goofiness, have developed into a stronger band both on the record and as individuals. With the fatal bus accident in Spain of 2002 which killed their driver and seriously injured many of the band and crew, a much longer hiatus for the band was planned. However, when a routine band meeting was scheduled, frontman Dryden Mitchell (who sustained a broken neck in the accident) eagerly brought many newly penned songs to the meeting, which proved you can keep a band down but not down for long.

With new enthusiasm, and healing physical wounds the group enlisted the help of Robert & Dean DeLeo, best known as members of Stone Temple Pilots, as producers on the project. As the band strives to make their songs timeless in nature, “TruANT” yields itself a majority or strong tracks which deal with betrayal of loved ones and the realization that life is going to get really bad every so often, but it could be a lot worse. Working those occurrences and realizations into an “ANT”-friendly formula was helped along by the DeLeo brothers. Mitchell’s seemingly melodic screaming on the tracks was helped an enhanced by Robert DeLeo’s ritual of preparing Mitchell for the daily dose of cayenne pepper on the lower extremities of the singer’s body. Yes, it is a bit bizarre, but the vocal quality and strength in Mitchell’s performance on the CD is very evident.

For the most part, the CD is relatively strong in content. From a listening standpoint of someone who may not be familiar with the band, every other song seems to be where the band is their most unique and ear-captivating. “1000 Days” blends a ska-influence with heavy guitar rock. With “Glow”, the quirkiness of the lyrics and the melodies is very reminiscent of classic Jellyfish songs. The CD’s first radio release “These Days” is what many AAF fans are familiar with from the first CD, and undeniably recognizable when hearing it on the radio. There are no returns of Michael Jackson remakes on the CD. So, I am guessing the pets at Neverland Ranch won’t be eating filet mignon this year. But a nice surprise of the Spanish infused track “Tia Lupe” shows that the band not only has the vast musical influences behind them, but they know how to incorporate them into a great song that the fans will embrace.

For the record, “TruANT” is a good listen. It is very rare to listen to an album and it be a good listen from start to finish. And in some cases, either all the strong material is concentrated in the front or the back, which leaves the middle tracks in limbo. However, with the strongest of AAF material evenly spaced through the entire CD, a first-time listener is more open to give all the tracks a fair shot when hearing it for the first time. 

CD Info 

Alien Ant Farm - TruANT
Label: DreamWorks 
1000 Days
Drifting Apart
These Days
Sarah Wynn
Never Meant
Tia Lupe
Rubber Mallet
S.S. Recognize
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These Days" Video

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