Unwritten Law improves musically on ‘Mourning’

Erika Kreider

Unwritten Law returns with their first Lava Records release.

Credit: Beth Rankin

Southern California seriously has to be one of the coolest places in the United States. It is the home to countless pop culture staples including “The O.C.” and Sublime. Unwritten Law’s new CD, Here’s To The Mourning, is no exception to the continuous cool power pouring out of California.

Unwritten Law sounds similar to a blend of Yellowcard and Eve 6. Certain elements on the album appeal to the skater-style lover of music, and other elements attract the poppy-sing-with-the-windows-down music lover.

“Save Me” is one of my personal favorites on this album. This song has a poppy sound, as emotion-filled vocals from Scott Russo bellow out, “You can’t save me/You can’t change me.”

The rasp in Russo’s voice at some parts of the song makes me wonder how many cigarettes he smokes a day, but just when I start to guess, he switches to a great breakdown in the song with some alone time between him and the guitar. The emotion floats down and changes from full, open-mouthed singing to a mellower sound. Russo croons, “Went to heaven/Couldn’t get in/For what I had done.”

The rhythm seems slower and more laid-back compared to their previous album, Elva. Do not despair, fans — the band still shines through with the general skater-style appeal that ushered fans down the Unwritten Law aisle before.

Unwritten Law usually has one song on every CD that hits it big, yet doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the album. Think of “Seein’ Red,” for example, on Elva. But the band works past this publicity maneuver maturely on Here’s to the Mourning. All of the songs generally revolve around the rock sound the band stands for.

Honestly, Mourning took some time to grow on me. I am one of those fans of their sore-thumb hits such as “Cailin,” “Seein’ Red” and “Rest of My Life.” After two listens, though, the CD has the unique Californian style that bands from that area seem to capture so well.

If only we Ohioans could be able to understand how living in a certain place could automatically make someone cool.

Contact pop arts reporter Erika Kreider at [email protected].