311 is one of the few 90's alternative rock acts that have been able to not only stay together but remain viable 10 years after they hit the scene. This is one of the band's that could be blamed for rap/rock but don't hold that against them. With Don't Tread on Me, 311 hones that signature sound of rock riffs against a reggae beat and the dueling vocalist approach. They have comfortable moved away from all of the terrible bands they helped to inspire.
Don't Tread on Me doesn't have a single dull moment. Unfortunately the band seems to be stuck on the same beat they employed for that terrible cover of the Cure's "Lovesong". If any compliant can be made against Don't Tread on Me is that 311 is playing it way too safe.
Song's like the title track, "Getting Through to Her" and "Whisky and Wine" seem effortless for this band but also ring out as some of the album's better songs. 311 channels Rage against the Machine for "Solar Flare", the heaviest song on the album.
The overall upbeat, mellow vibe of Don't Tread on Me makes for a satisfying listen all the way through to the last track, the mini-epic "There's Always an Excuse".
No matter how great this record is, it is hard to shake the feeling that 311 is treading water before they move onto something even greater. Don't Tread on Me may be the definitive album to showcase everything 311 is good at, but hopefully it is just the promise of a real definitive album coming up around the corner.