It has been said that Rock n Roll is dead. BUCKCHERRY has rebuked those blasphemous comments with a straight-ahead rock n roll record that is very true to what Josh Todd/Keith Nelson & Co. have been doing since 1999. Simply titled Rock ‘n’ Roll (out now, F-Bomb Records), it is one of their strongest efforts to date. Off the heels of their EP FUCK, this band is just getting better and I think I know why. JT and KN seem to have found a recipe for songwriting that works: Incorporating monster riffs and masterful lyrics into the rockers, sometimes showing off their punk rock influences, infusing some funkiness when they slow things down a bit, and crafting beautiful songs for the obligatory power ballads which BUCKCHERRY just so happens to be very good at.
Nowhere is this multi-dimensional, intricately arranged musicianship showcased more than on this new one. Starting off with straight ahead rocker and first single “Bring it on Back”, BUCKCHERRY gave me exactly what I wanted. Next up, “Tight Pants”, oozes with sexuality and primal urges as Josh Todd describes what he likes about attractive women with snug britches. Just below the surface of this tune is a horn section. I LOVE rock music backed with a horn section and this is just one example of the growth that is apparent on this recording.
“The Feeling Never Dies” is a low-tempo, power ballad-type song. I am typically not a fan of these (simply because most everybody else is), but this may be the best track, word for word, on the record. It is easily the one that gets stuck in my head and I find myself humming it often. Todd is one of the finest lyricists in the business right now. And, obviously, he caters to his voice with a delivery is perfect and very emotive. He’s one of those guys that can make me shed a tear when I listen to him sing. Not very many entertainers can do that for me.
Keith Nelson and Stevie D. are a very capable guitar duo and the rhythm section of Xavier Murrell (drums) and Kelly LeMieux (bass) hold everything together, but “Cradle” doesn’t do it for me. The next one does, however. “The Madness” is the second single and by far my favorite song on the album. This is an instant classic about a war that many of us have going on between our ears. Josh Todd “gets” me. Or maybe I “get” him. Either way, this is a testament to what I like about BUCKCHERRY and why they are one of my favorite bands of this millennium. Great lyrics about things I can relate to. Kickass rock n roll musicianship highlighted by a blistering solo by Stevie D. This song has it all and is THE highlight of the record.
“Wood” and “Rain’s Falling” are winners as well. Josh Todd has crafted an excellent, tongue-in-cheek rock song about the metallurgical qualities that women hold over men! “If it gets any harder, I’m gonna need a cold shower!” Word. The last example of the GROWTH found here is “Rain’s Falling”, a groovy little number that makes you just want to dance with your sweetheart while holding her as close as possible. I really dig this song. It shows a different side of BUCKCHERRY. The style has always been with them but “Rain’s Falling” takes it to another level and is an unforgettable contribution to this record.
Closing things out are two, good, straight ahead rockers, “Sex Appeal” and “Get With It”. The former oozes with it. Todd delivers rapid-fire vocals on top of some really good playing. The latter is very similar, focusing on that feeling you get when you meet that someone special and you lose all control.
This is a very balanced disc for BUCKCHERRY with a nice mix of rockers, “sensitive” tunes, and some groove-funk and a horn section thrown in for good measure. This band is really starting to “explore the room” with their song arrangements but never get away from what they are good at: rocking the fuck out and crafting beautiful melodies. I think Josh Todd could sing the phone book and it would sound great. However, it’s not all about him. Keith Nelson, Stevie D., Xavier Murrell and Kelly LeMieux all contribute to this team effort and deliver a record that is their best since 15.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Wood”, “Rain’s Falling”, “The Madness”, “The Feeling Never Dies”