6 years is a long time in music when you’re in between albums. (unless you’re Tool) The scene that founded your success changes. New groups, new directions, new audiences. Unwritten Law were a part of the So-Cal punk rock scene that flourished in the nineties on the back of bands like Pennywise and The Offspring. But like many in music, the toll of the lifestyle takes control. Scott Russo fell apart. Addiction took over and his ego resulted in most of the band members either being fired or walking out. He went to rehab, he went to jail and in the midst of all the turmoil, his house burnt down. Makes great fodder for songs doesn’t it?
Scott has used the past six years as an inspiration for getting back on track with Unwritten Law. The trademark sound is still there. With new band members, they’ve kept to the essence that made the band successful towards the late 90s. The songs are still melodic, there’s fast tracks ideal for skateboarding videos. There’s slower, romantic type ballads. There’s still that one track that sits out of place. (On this one it’s the poor hip hop track of Chicken featuring Del The Funkee Homosapien)
However, it’s all a little too bland for current punk rock tastes. It’s predictable and it’s almost cliched. The track Superbad touches on his past troubles and is a stand out track delivered with an almost sneer behind it, but the rest of the songs just serve the purpose. What made this band so good in the past was the stand out tracks they would write. Still to this day tracks like Cailin and Seein’ Red are among my favourite songs, but this album fails to deliver anything really memorable. Sadly this album may just serve what the final track says. It may just be their Swan Song.