Tracks examine the power of true love (“Once”), satisfaction in a relationship (“One I Want”) and the emotional strain of a committed long-distance romance (“From Afar”). “Fire in the Hole” borrows from James 3 as it describes the tongue’s ability to cause tremendous damage (“Rudder of a ship which sets the course/Does not the bit bridle the horse?/Great is the forest set by a small flame/Like a tongue on fire, no one can tame”). New lead singer Gary Cherone asserts, “You got to give more than you take”(“Without You”). On “Josephina,” a young woman is urged to put the past behind her and move on. “How Many Say I” chides men who fail to meet the needs of their spouses, the homeless and the hungry.
Two stray lines on “Dirty Water Dog” could be interpreted as theologically misleading.
This disc sounds a lot like Van Halen’s early arena-rock projects fronted by former lead singer David Lee Roth-but without their rebellion and sexuality. A welcome shift. Pained vocals aside, the band’s latest guitar-heavy release is lyrically solid.