Matt Johnson has never been one to write frivilous pop songs. Whether recording as a solo artist or as The The (the two are barely seperable), his distinctive style blends dense, tightly-wound music with anguished songwriting. For The The's third album, Johnson is backed for the first time by a complete band, including former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. "Mind Bomb's" guitar and synth-based music swells and aches beneath Johnson's most visceral lyrics to date. Most of the material addresses religion and sexuality. "Armageddon Days are Here (Again)" condemns those who worship creed over message, and Irish singer Sinead O'Connor joins in for a lonely "Kingdom of Rain." The only weak item is the rhetoric-heavy "The Beat(en) Generation." Overall, "Mind Bomb" is an eloquent statement of rage, and Johnson's own advice on the inner sleeve is to play it "very loud, very late, and very alone."
-- Beth Fertig