If you are a fan of 311, then Universal Pulse will not disappoint. The band continues to bring fans its familiar sound but has done it in a way that still makes it interesting.
The first three tracks on Universal Pulse display the heavier side of 311. The first song, “Time Bomb,” starts out with a slow driving riff that builds up quickly. The song becomes even more rowdy as the chorus kicks in, “ticking like a time bomb, watch me go off.”
The lead single, “Sunset In July,” creates the transition on the album from heavy to calm. The song starts out with a light, relaxing guitar line and keeps switching from a soft to heavy sound between the verses and chorus. “Sunset In July” encompasses the relaxed feeling that many people try to construct for themselves during the summer months.
The album then leads into its lighter side with the song “Trouble.” This song features more of the reggae-style rock that has attracted many people to the band, which includes playing the guitar with up-strokes and rapping during the verse. The band continues this sound into the very next song, “Count Me In.”
After the two reggae songs, the band gets heavier again on a song with the fitting title of “Rock On.” “Rock On” features another heavy riff with a slow rhythm that almost makes the listener head bang. That is until the bridge of the song, where it transitions smoothly into another soothing sound that continues during the the next two songs, “Weightless” and “And A Ways To Go.”
“Weightless” is a song that puts you in the mood to sit around and enjoy the day, or however you relax when you listen to 311. The feeling in the song is again set by the guitar line, and during the drum fills in the chorus, you may feel urged to sing along with the words, “weightless, weightless, everyone of us is weightless.”
“And A Ways To Go” rounds out the album on a high note. As it continues with the laid back feel most of the album has made, the song climaxes during a bass solo that shows why P-Nut is one of the best bass players around.
Universal Pulse shows what 311 is all about and shows that a band can continue to bring something interesting to fans while remaining to keep its same sound.