I don't think it's politically incorrect to call bands like THE SMASHUP the 2006 model of "metal for chicks". This is show-tune hardcore, a candy-coated facsimile of the more underground strains of metalcore, meticulously designed to be a lifestyle accessory for Suicide Girls and eyeliner-bleeding MySpace drama queens, with just enough heavy parts to keep their boyfriends from feeling funny about buying the CD for them. If AVENGED SEVENFOLD is a little too riffy for you, and you think THE USED would be the biggest band in the world if they weren't so gosh-darn misunderstood, then THE SMASHUP would like a word with you.
The thing is, if the whole album was as interesting and ludicrously over-the-top as "No Name", it would be enjoyable despite itself, in a total sugar-fix guilty pleasure sort of way. The song is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink show-stopper worthy of Broadway, with vocal lines and backups careening merrily all over the map, and an off-the-rails performance from singer Watt White that out-vamps even the rest of his breathy, overwrought work on "Being and Becoming".
The rest of the songs have plenty of hair-tearing, chest-beating pathos and bloated emotion to spare — they just don't have much else going for them, aside from White's admittedly hearty delivery, and enough pretentious suicide note ramblings to mollify an entire chat room of gum-cracking pre-teen bloggers who think they know what tragedy is. There's no denying that it's all impeccably produced, as calculated and precise as if the songs were written on graph paper – it's just that if you're not part of its narrowly focused target demographic, you'll be left cold.