Fired! at the Disco
By this author’s count, Men, Women & Children and their self-titled debut comprise the second electro-flavored rock project with an alumnus of third-rate Deftones imitators Glassjaw. There was plenty of room to improve upon the first middling effort, Daryl Palumbo’s Head Automatica. Glassjaw guitarist and MWC leader Todd Weinstock misses that opportunity.Weinstock wants so desperately to merge guitar-tinged neo-disco with the emo-pop earnestness of Fall Out Boy that he misses the point of each style. MWC’s attempts at Electric Six-style humor and non sequiturs often land with dull thuds, as in the wretched “Monkey Monkee Man.” MWC also proves here that tacking on speedy string sections and any form of the word “dance” to songs with some measure of angst, like “Dance in My Blood,” is not the same as your favorite Scissor Sisters single.
That’s really the big failure of Men, Women & Children: too much disco to give any emotional punch to lyrics about falling out and other seriousness. Songs that might snarl in a different context, like “Vowels” (“A-E-I owe you nothing”), are simply smothered under electronics that are miles away from the gravity of any situation. Shame on MWC for not assembling more songs resembling the runaway party train of “Who Found Mr. Fabulous?” which successfully trades rock’n’roll crunch for Studio 54 glam sugar.
Head Automatica’s Decadence seemed to succeed in minor fashion by sticking with Palumbo’s rock contributions and reining in Dan the Automator’s dancefloor production. Men, Women & Children aren’t nearly so savvy, with an album that smacks of coattail riding. It might intrigue a few more dance-friendly scenesters than Good Charlotte fans, but just barely.