ALIEN ANT FARM truANT (DreamWorks/ Universal) Rating: NNN
Alien Ant Farm scored a huge hit in 2001 with a cover of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal, surprising everyone by going to number one on Billboard and lifting the ANThology album to platinum status. With the release of truANT, Alien Ant Farm keep much of the same nü-metal/pop-punk formula intact yet branch off occasionally into acoustic, Caribbean and Latin grooves. Vocalist Dryden Mitchell can still write a witty ditty, and Dean and Robert DeLeo of the Stone Temple Pilots control the production side, giving the album a crisp, clean sound, with meaty guitars and well-fleshed-out choruses. Diversity helps to move the album along nicely, but these forays only serve to reinforce how average their bread-and-butter tunes actually are. Without the help of a Michael Jackson cover, it's hard to hear a standout hit on truANT. The overall effect comes off more laboured than inspired. Too smooth and not raw enough, truANT has "corporate whore" written all over it.