There's nothing wrong with pop in hard music, as long as it's done with any kind of heart. After all, the RAMONES were quintessential pop rockers on top of punk icons. Richard Patrick has always been bipolar when it comes to his FILTER projects. Almost as if to prove a point, he struck gold with the sugary swinger "Take a Picture" on 1999's "Title of Record" to counter the steamrolling success of his brackish ripper "Hey Man, Nice Shot" four years earlier on "Short Bus".
Since then, every FILTER album as of 2002's "The Amalgamut" has comprised of rhythmic rockers and wistful softies. The main differentiation between each recording has been the personnel Richard Patrick has surrounded himself with, not to mention whatever ever mood has dictated over him.
The last FILTER album "The Trouble With Angels" was the right step forward out of the protest-minded ambivalence of 2007's "Anthems from the Damned". Still coming off as angry as hopeful on "Angels", this time around, Richard Patrick gets real. He allies himself with former KILL HANNAH guitarist Jonny Radtke and the results of "The Sun Comes Out Tonight" produce the most confident and infectious FILTER joint since "Title of Record".
Read into the fussy bitching of the opening number "We Hate it When You Get What You Want" as you will. Whether or not Richard Patrick still has a row to settle with his former boss in NINE INCH NAILS or the rant is intended towards someone else altogether, the smarmy kvetching of "We Hate it When You Get What You Want" rips Patrick's shackles gone. One shakes their head as Patrick throws down his obscene tirade, but at the same time, the electro groove whumping behind the thick, concentrated guitars is hard to pass on.
Now as a duo for all intents and purposes, Patrick and Jonny Radtke employ drum machines, synths and mixers along with the more organic instruments, yet the songwriting is so bloody sharp on "The Sun Comes Out Tonight" they sell the illusion of a full house band. Even when hijacking the primary bass rolling scheme of "Hey Man, Nice Shot" not once but twice on this record with "What Do You Say" and "Self Inflected", there are enough power pumps jacking the choruses of each the attitude rings well-opposite of the former.
Radtke appears to have reignited Patrick's passion on this album and "The Sun Comes Out Tonight" has no shame mingling in the guilty pleasure pills of the dreamy "Surprise", "It's Just You" and "First You Break It". While FILTER does continue to sell respectably on Billboard, there's a sense of integrity to Richard Patrick's aspirant and often vulnerable vocals on his rock lullaby tunes that swerves them away from AOR.
In contrast, the throbbing pulses of "Burn It", "What Do You Say", "This Finger's For You" and "It's Got to Be Right Now" all deserve FM love. Chocked full of rallying "whoa-oh" calls, cruise-minded pound rhythms and singular guitar shoves, these are some of Richard Patrick's most poised vehicles in quite some time. Dark in subject on "This Finger's For You", Patrick reserves his true fang for "Take That Knife Out of My Back" later in the album. Afterwards, Patrick lets his blood spill from the hypothetical gash on the piano ballad "It's My Time", featuring one of Patrick's most soulful vocal performances ever. Better, it serves up the laidback closer "It's Just You", which allows him to croon beautifully on the choruses.
In a less saturated market, "The Sun Comes Out Tonight" would be an automatic. You won't get a better mainstream rock album for your bucks this year, that's a guarantee. Jonny Radtke not only pulled Richard Patrick out of his ruts, he helped engineer one hell of a comeback that would mean everything with less competition.