15 Songs, 55 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

311 return to the indie ranks with producer Scott “Scotch” Ralston, who’d produced the fan favorite Transistor. Now with total control over their supersized career, 311—among the first bands to combine reggae, rap, and rock—return with a solid album that moves between genres effortlessly, emphasizing harmonies and grooves in that unusual way that made them festival highlights in the '90s. Corporate record companies clearly never affected the group’s sound or their choices; singer Nick Hexum plays it laidback no matter the situation. Tim Mahoney’s guitars indicate the circumstances and turn multicolored throughout “Make It Rough,” a tune that flirts with hard rock while it continues to enjoy the warm breezes of the Caribbean. The throwback “The Great Divide” churns harder with hip-hop and metal influences, while Hexum and positive rapper Doug “SA” Martinez remind fans just how unshakeable 311 have become. Even the mellow magic of “Sand Dollars,” “Friday Afternoon,” and “Tranquility” (which feature glimpses of storm clouds) remain confident in their relaxed positions that 311 are always ready to spring into action.

EDITORS’ NOTES

311 return to the indie ranks with producer Scott “Scotch” Ralston, who’d produced the fan favorite Transistor. Now with total control over their supersized career, 311—among the first bands to combine reggae, rap, and rock—return with a solid album that moves between genres effortlessly, emphasizing harmonies and grooves in that unusual way that made them festival highlights in the '90s. Corporate record companies clearly never affected the group’s sound or their choices; singer Nick Hexum plays it laidback no matter the situation. Tim Mahoney’s guitars indicate the circumstances and turn multicolored throughout “Make It Rough,” a tune that flirts with hard rock while it continues to enjoy the warm breezes of the Caribbean. The throwback “The Great Divide” churns harder with hip-hop and metal influences, while Hexum and positive rapper Doug “SA” Martinez remind fans just how unshakeable 311 have become. Even the mellow magic of “Sand Dollars,” “Friday Afternoon,” and “Tranquility” (which feature glimpses of storm clouds) remain confident in their relaxed positions that 311 are always ready to spring into action.

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