Having generated enough success for themselves off their 2001 radio single hit, "The Remedy," from their debut album, "Humanistic," Abandoned Pools have returned. The band's sophomore release, "Armed to the Teeth," does not have such a clear cut single primed for radio and video play. The band seem more focused on their twelve guitar driven power pop melodies rather than on producing one memorable track.
By the time Abandoned Pools reach "Waiting To Panic," things seem to have turned a corner. Previously, on tracks like "Lethal Killers" and "Tighter Noose," soft tunes charged by power chords and gentle melodies had dominated. With a light, driving melody, the bouncing rhythm of "Waiting To Panic" is a welcome change. Led by piano carefully plunking the melody, the full instrumentation of "Hunting (The Universe Breaks My Heart)" crashes quickly before the straightforward vocal delivery on the driving but predictable "Armed to the Teeth." Guitar pulses lightly on "Sooner Or Later" as vocalist Tommy Walter vainly attempts vocal summersaults. "Sailing Seas" is a smooth pop melody that keeps things interesting with percussion that hints at The Smiths' "Frankly, Mr. Shankly." Meanwhile on "Renegade," Abandoned Pools even go hard rock with a full and thundering chorus.
With little variation throughout, "Armed to the Teeth" feels flat, never really grabbing the ear. But despite a mediocre start to the album, Abandoned Pools do seem to pick up momentum which each song and put in a respectable attempt. Abandoned Pools preserve at least some of their mainstream appeal on "Armed to the Teeth" with soaring melodies.