February 20, 2003

Test Spin: Juliana Theory

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To be brutally honest, this album confused me. Perhaps jumping to a major label is the choice that will either make or break The Juliana Theory. Now on Epic, their latest effort Love doesn’t do much to build on the talent that characterized their previous albums, Understand This is a Dream and Emotion is Dead. Though many aspects of their change are confounding, most baffling was the switch from a title like Emotion Is Dead to Love in one move.

The major trouble here is Brett Detar’s lyrics. He misses much more than he hits; though he tries to be poetic, he’s so obvious and up-front with his feelings that it comes off as almost anti-poetic. Epic doesn’t really look out for the Theory by adding the lyrics to the liner notes either. The only song that really evokes the nostalgia of their prior works is “Do You Believe Me,” easily the best on the disc. I could hear remnants of older songs like “Don’t Push Love Away” and “This Is Your Life,” but these tracks only compelled me to revert to their previous CDs.

Saving the album is its sound, which doesn’t deviate much from the earlier Theory releases. Unfortunately, the lyrics can’t keep up, as they are cliche