August 25, 2015 Buckcherry – Rock ‘n’ Roll (Album Review)
Transplanted from Anaheim Hills, CA to Lake Forest, Josh Todd started in the music biz fronting Hollywood-based Slamhound. Through a tattoo friend, Todd met Keith Nelson and bonded through their love for AC/DC. After making a few demos together, Todd and Nelson met Bassist Jonathan Brightman and Drummer Devon Glenn, and together, they called themselves Sparrow, making a splash in Hollywood. DreamWorks Records signed the band, but they had to change their name after a record company threatened to sue for copyright infringement. Thus, the famous Modern Hard Rock band Buckcherry was born. Quickly, the newly christened band released their gold self-titled debut in 1999, which was produced by Terry Date (Soundgarden, Pantera), and featured the tracks “Lit Up,” “For the Movies,” “Dead Again,” and “Check Your Head.”
Rhythm Guitarist Yogi Lonich joined the band, and they embarked on an endless tour that had them opening for the likes of Lenny Kravitz and doing Woodstock ’99. Then, it was time to return to the studio to record 2001’s Time Bomb; however, it failed to live up to expectations in the eyes of some. Undaunted, Buckcherry opened for AC/DC a couple dates. Then, from mid-2001 to the beginning of 2002, major lineup changes occurred, and Dave Markasky, Josh Fleeger, and Matt Lawrence joined Todd and Nelson, who wanted to keep the band alive. Despite writing, a third album never materialized, and the band called a hiatus.
After releasing his only solo album, entitled You Made Me, in 2003, Todd resurrected Buckcherry with Nelson and a new lineup of Stevie D., Jimmy Ashurst, and Xavier Muriel. This lineup bore the 2006 album, 15, which restored their success with tracks like “Crazy Bitch,” “Sorry,” “Everything,” and “Next 2 You.” After some 2006 litigation, Buckcherry joined Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M., and Trapt for legendary Motley Crue’s 2008 Crue Fest followed by Black Butterfly later that year. Two-thousand and nine saw Buckcherry tour with Kiss and in the Kerrang! Week of Rock Tour with the 69 Eyes and Dear Superstar in London along with their first live album, Live & Loud 2009, which featured their greatest hits to that point. In early 2010, the band did Rocklahoma 2010, and dropped All Night Long that Summer as well as the Christmas-themed “Christmas is Here.” They toured with Hellyeah and All That Remains in 2011, and in 2013 pushed their boundaries with concept album Confessions. Now nearly a decade since they relaunched, Buckcherry have their own record label in F-Bomb Records, tour constantly, and offer up their seventh studio album on August 21st, Rock ‘n’Roll.
Rock’n’ Roll is ten tracks of going back to basics with good ol’ unadulterated Rock-n-Roll with a dash of tongue-in-cheekiness in some tracks. Beginning with “Bring It On Back,” the guys hit it off solidly with Keith and Stevie’s clean guitars and Kelly’s bass accompanying in tandem with Xavier’s drum work as Josh belts out Buckcherry’s return. In a retro Big Band turn, “Tight Pants” begins with a tambourine shake that carries throughout with a beat that is booty shaking inducing as trumpets add to the old school charm. One gets the image of them in big band formation, jamming. The power ballad “Wish to Carry On” has a sense of urgency from the opening sustained guitars notes that carry into melodic riffs accompanied by the simple drum beat as Josh hopefully sings, “It’s time again to live without a doubt/to free your mind/and forgive yourself…”
Another ballad follows in “That Feeling Never Dies,” a lighter-raising piece with an Industrial Country-esque vibe true love never really dies regardless of circumstance or time. Next, “Cradle” brings listeners back to the full-on Rock with an intro like an homage to AC/DC before settling into an up-tempo melody with requisite multi-guitar bridge and head-banging drums in this parable of hate is taught from the cradle easier than tolerance. A haunted set of notes brings in “The Madness” as the guitars scream to live and the head-pounding drums precede and accompany as Josh sings, “When your thoughts are not your own/and you feel you’ve lost control…” The deliciously raunchy track “Wood” has a plucky melody as the boys talk about an attractive girl.
The bluesy “Rain’s Falling” comes next with the metaphor of rain falling meaning feelings of a partner leaving.The sexy Swing Rock track “Sex Appeal” again proves Buckcherry’s versatility musically that harkens to Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.” The band’s enthusiasm shines through as they sing, “I think we can take it a full blast overdose of sex appeal.” Closing Rock ‘n’ Roll is “Get With It,” another sexually charged track of Funk with a sexy riff weaving in and out culminating in a fun solo as Xavier’s drums accompany while Josh sings of another escapade.
Rock ‘n’ Roll makes it hard to relegate Buckcherry as a mere Hard Rock band with the versatility of the tracks musically making them more like a Renaissance band that can weather any storm that might come their way. The songs are to the point and a blast to listen to. With their own label now, chances are the guys will be pumping out more new material faster, without restraint. CrypticRock gives Rock ‘n’ Roll 5 of 5 stars.