It's hard to believe, but some people still criticize Girls Against Boys for jumping over to a major label, and that's just not fair. The band should instead be criticized for making the worst album of its career. To its credit, Freak*on*ica is perhaps the best Filter record ever, a fact that should score the band some much-needed airplay on alternative radio. But those looking for a return to past glories should forget it. From the title on up, Freak*on*ica is a contrived letdown. One of the great things about GVSB was that, despite the fact that the band could easily polish up its act to become a commercial success, it seemed happy to sit on the outside, dipping into popular music to make its own material more tantalizing. Now, it seems to have traded in its skewed take on dance music for the real thing, and to poor effect. Scott McCloud's vocals, once dripping with menacing sensuality, now just sound like the work of an overproduced singer trying to sound scary. The weird grooves that could make your skin crawl have been replaced with alternative/industrial guitar hooks straight out of a club scene from a Miller Genuine Draft commercial. And the lyrics? Apparently, someone has attended a few college poetry slams: "Disco kill style / Punk ass gold power / I'll rave my head up / I'll crave my head up." Ugh. Freak*on*ica may stir up some excitement at the clubs, but those who have been waiting for it will find it a big, big disappointment

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