Album Review: Twenty One Pilots – Scaled and Icy (Fueled By Ramen)

By: Jesse Striewski

On their sixth studio release, alternative pop/rock/rap/synth stalwarts Twenty One Pilots seem to be falling more in line with the likes of bands they’ve actually influenced since their formation, rather than leading the charge of the sound they largely had a hand in shaping. On their last effort, 2018’s Trench, it seemed like Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun were peaking on the verge of musical greatness. On Scaled and Icy, it feels a bit like the duo took a step back, even if they did have several years and the downtown from a pandemic to work on it.

Choosing to open the album with the uber-upbeat “Good Day’ seemed unexpected right off the bat and like a bit of a miscalculation on the band’s part. Singles “Shy Away” and “Saturday” are equally poppy, but admirable for what they are, each featuring interesting arctic-themed music videos. Yet they almost feel as if they belong on someone else’s album. The last single, “Choker,” is also another decent number with another literal “fun” music video attached to it.

But as usual the duo are at their best when they venture into more serious territory; “The Outside,” “No Chances,” and “Redecorate” are all as close to flawless as it gets, and enough to save the album from just ‘meh’ status. Overall I wouldn’t say Scaled and Icy is a bad album per say. But if this is your introduction to the band, do yourself a favor and just go through their earlier material first before making this your starting point.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Album Review: Twenty One Pilots – Trench (Fueled by Ramen)


By: Jesse Striewski

By now many of you have likely already heard the majority of singles from this latest effort (fifth overall) from Twenty One Pilots (and you probably don’t need to be told how effective they each are in their own ways). Whether it’s the grunge-infused riffs of “Jumpsuit,” the dance-influenced “My Blood,” or the laid-back, reggae-tinged vibes of “Nico and the Niners,” Trench has something for just about everyone.

But it’s not only the radio “hits” that stand out; album tracks like “Bandito” and “Chlorine” are equally interesting. Very few modern mainstream acts emerge these days worth much of a damn, and not since The Killers has a band made such an impression. These youngsters from Ohio obviously still have a lot to offer, and a long, solid future ahead of them.

Rating: 4/5 Stars