ALBUM: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – 4

Release Date: July 4th, 2014
Label: Unsigned


If, like me, the early 00s were the time when you were first experiencing and cutting your teeth with alternative music, you’ll know of a band called The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus appearing on the scene around that time. Well, if you enjoyed this band, then or now, they have a new album out. It’s called ‘4’, because it’s their fourth full-length, and it came out on July 4th. How creative.

Remember 2003? Funeral For A Friend had just dropped what is now being dubbed a modern classic in their debut ‘Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation’, and Finch were still high off of their ‘What It Is To Burn’ release the year previous. These records are considered prevalent for their time and influence.

Fast forward a few years and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus appear on the scene, displaying a keen sense for pop-punk harmonies and the occasional break in verse to add a high pitch scream. This band were the perfect archetype for the overused ‘screamo’ label. Jump in the music time machine to 2014, four albums and eight years later, and we’re here in the present day. Nothing much has changed, ‘4’ contains the irritable, wobbly harmonies and pseudo-hardcore guitars with the occasional squeal just in case anyone was in any doubt.

But, with ‘4’, we’re not subjected to a ‘screamo’ record, per say. Rather, we’re left wondering what exactly we’re listening to and why. Such questions as why is ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’ just thrown in as a pseudo-metalcore track? And, why does ‘It’s Not My Style’ sound so contrived and derivative? The answer to those questions lies within the record’s confused and banal material. It’s tiresome to listen to and unsurprising to learn that this record had no label attached to it. Even with a self-titled release to its name, ‘4’ is uninspired and will leave many listeners perturbed at its content.

As mentioned earlier, 2003 brought us a lot of good, in terms of style of post-hardcore music. However, to think that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus were once considered within that branch of post-hardcore music is somewhat perplexing. Granted, they didn’t come onto the scene until 2006. But, evidently, that scene was still championed by Finch and, more loosely, Funeral For A Friend. To add a back catalogue that includes ‘4’ to that roster just sounds depressing. This is a confusing and uninspired effort from this outfit. The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus may have charmed audiences with their pop-punk melodies before, but ‘4’ just doesn’t cut it.

Written by Calv Robinson