Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Buckcherry - Confessions

Eleven Seven Music

Three years after regaining their form on ‘All Night Long’ (2010), Los Angeles (California, U.S.) based hard rockers Buckcherry are back with their highly anticipated sixth full-length effort ‘Confessions’.
When you think of Buckcherry, you think of a high octane hard rock outfit that has the ability to channel the spirit the wild spirit of Mötley Crüe, Guns ‘N Roses and Aerosmith, albeit delivered with a distinctly modern edge. But while the band’s back catalogue has delivered that in spades, the five-piece have decided to deviate from the formula that’s worked so well for them in the past on their latest release. And while it works in part, as a whole, ‘Confessions’ isn’t quite the classic hard rock ‘n’ roll album many would have expected from the band that released ‘All Night Long’ a mere three years ago.
Buckcherry (Who comprise of vocalist Josh Todd, lead/rhythm guitarists/backing vocalists Keith Nelson and Stevie D., bassist/backing vocalist Jimmy ‘Two Fingers’ Ashhurst and drummer Xavier Muriel) get the album off to a blistering start with the album’s first single ‘Gluttony’. Full of attitude, catchy riffs, gang backing vocals and a chorus that’s easy to sing along to, ‘Gluttony’ is everything you would expect from the hard rockers, and then some.
‘Wrath’, which ties in with the opening track in tackling the seven deadly sins, may be a little slower in the speed stakes, but still maintains the hard rocking vibe pumped, but things get a little wayward with the follow-up track ‘Nothing Left But Tears’. Although the darker vibe is welcome (The lyrics are a little more serious and direct here than what was evident on the first couple of tracks), the lack of a distinctive riff leaping out of the speakers, and the somewhat slower pace dissipates the built up energy generated from the opening pair of classic hard rockers. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Nothing Left But Tears’ is a good song, but it just seems a little too out of place here.
The ballad ‘The Truth’ on the other hand is a track that works exceeding well. Todd’s vocals are heartfelt, honest and direct, and the band’s role in the background is never overstated. The brief flashes of solo from Nelson adds a great touch to the song, which helps give the song a classic ‘80’s feel, without falling into a complete cliché.
‘Greed’, the second single lifted from the album, is a solid enough track, but not the best example of what the band have to offer on their last studio release, while ‘Seven Ways To Die’ is another example of where the band almost hit the mark, but don’t quite hit their mark.
‘Water’ is something a little different from the band sound wise, and while it doesn’t fit into the realm of what you would expect from the band, it’s certainly one of the album’s genuine highlights. The build up of guitars through the chorus help emphasise the power within the group, while Todd’s choruses really stand out as memorable. The same could be said for ‘Air’ as well. Again, this track is something a little different and experimental for the band, but it works surprisingly well.
The blues based/piano led ‘Sloth’ is quite possibly one of the best tracks that Aerosmith didn’t get around to writing from their classic late ‘70’s era, while the ballsy sleaze of ‘Lust’ just begs to be played loud.
Unfortunately, the latter part of the album is a little on the patchy side of things. Although a great song, ‘Pride’ sounds out of place on the album with Todd delivering the bulk of the song in a narrative tone that echoes that of a preacher alongside a very ‘50’s guitar tone from the guitarists, while ‘Envy’ is forgettable because of its lack of standout choruses – despite a very theatrical musical accompaniment from the band. And as for the acoustic based closer ‘Dreamin’ Of You’, well it just suffers the same fate as some of the tracks that were at the tail end of ‘All Night Long’. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with them, it’s just that the album does seem a little long at thirteen tracks in total.
Overall, ‘Confessions’ is a solid album. There are some real gems amongst the pack, but a couple of forgettable efforts as well. But what makes the album slide backward a touch is the inclusion of some rather experimental sounding tracks, and the fact that the album is a little long. Perhaps if a couple of tracks were removed, it might have fared better. But as it stands, ‘Confessions’ is a solid Buckcherry release, but a small step down from 2010’s far superior ‘All Night Long’.

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© Justin Donnelly

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