Protocol Album: The Protocol: 24
Street Date: November 20, 2004
Length: 40:13
Rating: 4stars
Reviewed by: John
Buy it: Sonic Boom Records

Track By Track:
1. Not Real - The lyrics for “Not Real” are extremely poignant and the style of the song sets the stage for what is to come. The high energy from the entire band just oozes from the speakers, and it truly feels as if they were playing live ten feet in front of you. Listening to this track alone will make you want to see The Protocol live for sure.

2. Favorite Girl - So the first track wasn’t enough for you? Well welcome to the fabulous track two. That high-energy feel does not subside one bit. If you aren’t jamming along by this point…check your pulse, you may be dead. Definitely one of the tracks you will find yourself listening to over and over again. It truly rocks.

3. Twenty Four - Being the title track, this song really has to live up to high expectations, but believe me it delivers. This is definitely the signature track of the album. If you had to play only one song to represent the feel of the overall album, then this would be the one you’d pick. Like the previous two tracks, the song is composed entirely of raw, right out of a live performance, energy. Rob’s vocals reach a new level of intensity here that you will not be able to shake. You are going to remember this song.

4. White Pants - This track is a perfect example of what makes The Protocol’s music a borderline addiction. The musical cocktail they produce is a perfect blend of all their individual talents. No one player stands out more than the others—they all shine through with brilliant genius. It is truly their combined performance that gives “White Pants” its beautiful and addictive sound. This is a track that just grooves. The music gets into your blood. Truly a song worthy of a single.

5. Gun for Hire - “Gun for Hire” has a different feel from the previous tracks. It is no less awesome, but this track has a certain ebb and flow to it that makes it stand out. Jeff’s guitar playing really guides the listener through this song, making for some good music.

6. Leavin’ - It’s only their first album, but The Protocol already has the perfect encore song. High energy? Check. Some reference to leaving/being over? Check. Gets everyone on vocals? Check. Kicks ass? Check. Yeah, sounds like the perfect encore song to me. This song must be a major hit at live shows.

7. Bleeding - This one is a true test of Rob’s vocal abilities. We know from tracks 1-6 that he can sing with ferocious intensity, but the question remained as to whether he could carry an entire song. The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is an enthusiastic YES! Combine Rob’s voice with some more amazing guitar from Jeff, and you’ve got a truly amazing piece that is sure to haunt you long after you’ve heard it.

8. Atomic - This track is a true collaboration of great artists. Paul’s drum playing is the heartbeat of this song, and can only be described as incredibly and deliciously intense. Rob’s vocals are as genius as ever. spAce delivers some wicked bass in this track, really solidifying the overall piece. Jeff’s guitar bridge is one of the best on the album. And the chorus? Simply awesome. This track was an instant favorite of mine.

9. News for You - Of all the songs on this album that scream for a live performance, this is the one most deserving. Listening to the track, one can just imagine Rob giving his all at the microphone, supported by three very passionate musicians. “News for You” is a shining example of what happens when passion meets musical talent.

10. I Don’t Care - This is the weakest track on the album. It doesn’t feel like it received the same amount of time and attention as the other songs, and so sounds weak next to the other great tracks around it. Honestly, the song seems to be a leftover from the early days of playing live gigs. It’s not bad, just more fitting for a live show than this album.

11. Wish - This track feels like a really good jam session. Paul’s drums and Jeff’s guitar compliment each other so well throughout the entire album, but this is especially the case in “Wish”. spAce also lays down some really sweet bass lines, making for yet another great track.

12. Roll On - Two words to describe this song: Stunningly beautiful. This is my favorite track on the album. The lyrics are powerful, and the music beyond amazing. “Bleeding” is haunting, but this song gives me goosebumps. It grabs you from the onset, and holds you through the very last note. If nothing else, “Roll On” proves that The Protocol is a band that knows how to make good music.

13. Reflection - Bass guitar is so instrumental to a song, and yet the musical role it plays is so fundamental that it often goes unnoticed. That’s why it was a very pleasant surprise to find this little gem at the end of the album. “Reflection” is purely spAce just doing his thing—playing some awesome bass. And after “Roll On”, it provides the perfect close to the album.

Debut albums are tough. You only get one shot at a first impression, and it has to be good. But The Protocol step up to the challenge and deliver an album that screams to be heard. The music stays with you well after you listen to the CD, and no matter how many times you spin the disc you’ll find that you still want more. 24 delivers the energy of a rock concert performance in the professional package of an album, without sacrificing the integrity of the band or its sound. This album is more than a good debut effort—it’s a true musical achievement.

Bottom line: This is a must buy album.

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