The brand-new, fourth album from the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame (!?) inductee and long-considered aural equivalent of hot garbage is unlikely to turn the tide, but it’s a — dare I say — commendable effort. It’s hard to hate on a band too much that at least attempts to evolve.
Borrowing elements of pop, country and even electronica, Welcome to the Freakshow is the most forward-thinking, least bad thing Hinder has ever done.
For every step forward (“Get Me Away from You”), there are two steps back (the thrashy, near-dubstep underpinnings and vomit-inducing lyrics of “Ladies Come First”), but hey, growing pains are to be expected.
First single “Save Me” is built on a guitar hook that bears resemblance to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and finds vocalist Austin Winkler delving into nü-metal rapping in the bridge; the track as a whole feels a decade late, as do “Freakshow” and “See You in Hell.”
The heavy-handed ballads have always been Hinder’s stronger (in a loose sense) offerings, and that holds true here. “Is It Just Me” echoes of alt-’90s earnest piano ballads, “Should Have Known Better” and “I Don’t Wanna Believe” are serviceable, and “Anyone But You” is just as good as anything else on country radio.
Freakshow doesn’t get an A, but Hinder gets an E for effort, and T for nice try. —Joshua Boydston