Getting Want We Want
For The Sun Comes Out Tonight, Filter frontman Richard Patrick, with the help of newly-added guitar hero Jonny Radtke, screams and screams his way to recapturing the inspired industrial menace of the band’s ’90s-era staples, Short Bus and Title of Record, albeit with a few modern flourishes that, for better and worse, defy and, in some instances, clearly reveal their age.
The album’s thrillingly clangorous opener, “We Hate It When You Get What You Want,” hits all its age-old points: guitars that whip like molten foundry chains, broken-valve percussive sequences and, of course, Patrick’s palate-clearing yawps—the height and rasp of which Trent Reznor, in all his exorcising powers, could never equal. But, before you can lace up your Dr. Martens and complain about the Clinton administration— I mean really, damn that guy for balancing the federal budget and keeping unemployment so low— a few modern elements, including an almost poppy pre-chorus here and a clubber-bait dropout there, serve to add a little disco glitz to the Gen X heartache.
This hybridized approach is made especially clear on the record’s title track, where a tough hundred-hand-slap verse dovetails into a starlit chorus, replete with a—“sellout!” accusers be damned—background shout of “whoa, oh-oh-oh!” ’Cause the kids today love them some “whoa, oh-oh-oh!” (Said the cigar-chomping exec with his feet on the desk). Despite any protestation from those who headbanged to “Hey Man, Nice Shot” in high school, Patrick later assures us, “This feels too good to be wrong!”— so, there you have it. Who are we to argue, right? Old school fans can button it.
In truth, but for a few iffy examples—as when “whoa, oh-oh-oh!” appears yet again on “Burn It”—the trendier touches are largely kept in check on Sun. Also, a lot of Filter’s classic industrial fire can be found in the fist-pumping gruffness of “Take That Knife Out Of My Back,” as well as “What Do You Say,” which brilliantly redounds Patrick’s adeptness for screaming “hey!” until he’s red in the face, beading with sweat.
Notwithstanding such aggression, the album’s most radiant moments are actually some of its softest, as in the peppy and acoustic-driven “Surprise,” whose chorus answers to a Duran Duran-like keyboard, as well as with the cycle’s warm-and-fuzzy sendoff, “It’s Just You,” which, despite an LP of overheated machine gun fire, closes with a pink carnation in its barrel. All told, Patrick and company may claim “We Hate It When You Get What You Want,” but it’s hard to argue Filter hasn’t given its fans exactly what they wanted: a worthy update to a time-tested formula. That said, hate away, Patrick. Hate away.