Recording information: Honua Music; Mike Green's House of Hits; N. Beverly Drive Pool House; Tennessee Ave; Triangle Sound West.
The third studio album from New York's Semi-Precious Weapons, 2014's Aviation finds the former neo-glam rock enfants terribles streamlining their sound for a more sophisticated (although thankfully not too mature) dance-oriented pop sound. Produced by Christopher "Tricky" Stewart, who previously helmed such ubiquitous club and radio hits as Beyonc‚'s "Single Ladies," and Rihanna's "Umbrellam," Aviation showcases a slick, R&B-influenced sheen that rubs nicely against the band's catchy songs. Still centered around the passionate vocals of charismatic frontman Justin Tranter, on Aviation, Semi-Precious Weapons blow out their glittery hard rock guitar riffs with floor-pounding electronic beats and gigantic, fluorescent synths. Tracks like "Never Going Home," "Young Love," and the swaggering, campy "Cherries On Ice," are bombastic, lusty and utterly infectious anthems perfectly crafted to get you moving. However, while the band's sound might be more adult-oriented, Tranter's knack for writing winky-eyed party lyrics that balance earnest emotion with a heavy dose of humor is well-intact. As he cries on the "Free Booze," "She wants free booze/No rules/And you/She wants heartbreak/Mistakes/And love." He boils the idea down even further on the seething "Drink," in which he veritably hisses, "I wish I had a drink/So I don't have to think/About you." Ultimately, whether it's a romantic heartbreak, a sexual desire, or simply a need to dance yourself free of a dreary daily existence, Aviation plays as a kind of cathartic proclamation of the deeper motivations for our need to party. As Tranter sings on "Vegas," "You left my heart on the side of the street like a cigarette...it's time to go to Vegas!" ~ Matt Collar