I have two gripes with this album. Firstly, despite its brief running time, it still contains a few songs which aren't particularly memorable to me. Opener Living well is the best revenge, despite providing a great statement of intent for the album, lacks a good melody. The title track doesn't excite me a lot either. And there's a few songs near the end (Horse to water and I'm gonna DJ) which don't particularly reward repeated listening for me.
My second gripe is more serious - this album is an unfortunate victim of the loudness war. It brickwalls on the first track and is turned up to 11 for pretty much the entire running time, except on a few ballads. I blame the influence of Jacknife Lee, who has worked on similarly loud albums by artists such as Bloc Party, Snow Patrol and U2.
I own all of R.E.M.'s albums, and if I find myself in the mood for listening to them I can't possibly see myself choosing Accelerate over Murmur or Automatic for the people, amongst other brilliant efforts. Call something a return to form as much as you like, but if you don't get an urge to listen to it, what's the point?
It's a good album, but it lacks a little in cohesiveness, feeling more like a collection of songs than an album. The album was named after Momofuku Ando (the inventor of cup noodles) and, in a sense, the name is appropriate -- it's all a bit of a hodge-podge of genres and styles mixed up in a way similar to how meat and vegetables are thrown together in a stir-fry. A solid Costello effort, but for a latter-day album I'd choose The delivery man over this.
Unfortunately, I struggle to remember anything memorable about the rest of the album. The songs don't seem to have a direction, many of them lacking decent melodies; because of this they fail to maintain my interest. All of the songs tend to blend into one for me, and while I sometimes notice some decent songs amongst the mix while listening to it, I immediately forget about them after the album has finished playing. There's also (I know I'm getting boring here) a pretty severe lack of dynamic range on all of these songs, making the album aurally unpleasant to listen to at times.
I think we can safely say that the chance of You Am I ever releasing an album on par with any of their earlier classics is pretty close to nil. It's sad to see such a great band fall from such great heights. Luckily, we'll always have Hourly, daily and Hi-fi way to listen to, to remind us of how great they once were.