I’d like to think the Delta Routine called their new album “More About You” because Cee-Lo and Bruno Mars beat them to “Fuck You.”
2K11’s first great album is one of the great rock and roll kiss-offs. Not a break-up album, it’s the kind of disc you reach for when you’re done with the break-up albums, when you’re ready to stop being mopey and start being pissed off.
We begin at the bitter end: lead singer Nick Amadeus snarling “Blame it on me,” with Britt Daniels bite before unloading a litany of poor excuses and lost battles he’s sick of being blamed for. At first, the music isn’t quite as on edge as Amadeus, woozy guitars sighing over Kyle Ciske’s agitated drums, slipping in a few notes edgewise when the singer catches his breath. Once Amadeus, guitarist Kevin Topel, and bassist Evan Paydon can’t take the bullshit anymore, “More About You’s” punky riffs rattle your speakers like a knockdown blow-up shaking paper-thin apartment walls, its songs zigzagging from airy courtship to revenge rebounds to better times long gone.
The masterful title track jump-cuts through an entire fucked-up, half-empty relationship, starting with the excitement of swapped phone numbers and ending with Amadeus staring into beautiful eyes that don’t give two shits about him. It’s all about her, but he wants her too badly to just walk away. Instead, Amadeus loses his troubles in an awesome guitar solo, one more hot romp that solves nothing and ends way, way too quickly. Can I name the Song of the Year in late February?
Hell, I don’t know if “More About You” is even the best song on “More About You.” “Felicia,” in which Amadeus bounces through lover’s withdrawal, and one-night conquest “Last Night’s Fable” are better Strokes songs than the awesome new Strokes single. “And It Goes” uses thrilling guitar theatrics from Topel and Amadeus to sweep some bitter realizations back under the rug, the fun and mutual comfort of love keeping two people together well beyond their expiration date. That’s the subtle genius of “More About You,” the way the Delta Routine pit their musical virtuosity -- the bikini body, the great sex, the shared taste in French art films -- against Amadeus’ big-picture discontent, and then line up behind Amadeus when vitriol is all that’s left between him and his woman.
Finally the kicks run out, and Amadeus is back where he started, alone. He gets by with a little help from his friends on raucous single guy anthem “All About No. 1,” but despite Amadeus’ “I’m over it” swagger, the the good memories are still too seductive. Acoustic closer “Happy Again” flashes back to one of those tender moments ultimately outnumbered by the bad. “I keep saying you’re beautiful, I keep saying you’re beautiful, guess there’s really nothing left to say,” coos Amadeus. Sounds like it was more about her from the start.
Well ain’t that some shit?
Amaedus might be regressing a touch, but the Delta Routine have just made a giant leap forward, and one of Milwaukee’s greatest rock records. Ever.