Back in 1999 when American Sleaze/Glam/Hard Rock outfit Buckcherry released their self titled debut album – the band started out already in 1995 – I totally missed out on them. Even though I had heard of them, I never found the interest to check out the follow-ups Timebomb (2001) or 15 (2005) either and I was more or less oblivious to their two semi-hits ”Crazy Bitch” and ”Lit Up” as well. I discovered this band with their kind-of reunion album Black Butterfly back in 2008, an album I still hold as their finest hour so far. The two follow-ups All Night Long (2010) and Confessions (2013) are both stellar albums I still go back to. Their three first records has been checked out by yours truly now but even though I like them, they’re not as strong as the three that followed.
However, the quality started to slip some with 2015’s Rock N Roll and continued even more on that path with their last album Warpaint (2019), their least strong record of their career. That being said, none of their albums has been bad all the way through. The 8/10 and 7/10 I gave those records back when doesn’t really stand today – 7/10 and 6/10 respectively is more my opinion today. If the slight slip had anything to do with Keith Nelson, who started the band and co-wrote most of the stuff with singer Josh Todd, leaving the band, I can’t say. With the new album, however, song-writer Marti Fredriksen who co-wrote lots of my three favorite albums with Todd and Nelson is back working with the band, something that bodes well.
Opener ”54321” is a gritty affair. Fast and rowdy, the tune is a punky and sleazy grinder with a darker edge over a classic Rock ’n’ Roll rhythm. It’s kicking with attitude and Todd spits out the lyrics right in your face. There are poppy hooks within the melodies as well but this one is all about creating a buzz and kicking up dust. A damn fine piece, perfect for the stage. First single ”So Hott” is an uplifting and groovy Classic Rock ripper that mixes some 70’s Classic Rock with classic Buckcherry rowdiness and swagger with every melody spot-on with an effective catchiness. In my tiny little world of flowers, this is a damn hit.
The upbeat and stompy title-track and second single throws on a solid beat below a crunchy AC/DC riff. It’s a pumping track with a fist-throwing rhythm, a crowd-friendly Hard Rock belter with a direct chorus that will kick-start any dying party out there. Very good. Latest single ”Gun” is a blues-driven sleaze-kicker which contains an Aerosmith vibe as well as some early Guns N’ Roses grit with a Classic Rock vibe as the bottom. For good measure, they throw in some Funk, Soul and a swinging, earthy harmonica. Add some bullseye melodies and a memorable and catchiness galore chorus to the mix and you have a winner on your hands. This is awesome.
”No More Lies” holds a crunchy riff, Classic Rock laden with a bluesy twist. Going for a juicy groove, a bit funky with an insert of both Ska and Country Rock. With accessible melodies and a refrain that will capture an audience anywhere, the tune goes for a shaking live-vibe, perfect for next year’s festivals. Very Good. Faster and rowdier, ”Here I Come” goes right for the throat with a straight ahead rhythm and edgy guitars, very attitude laden and crunchy, all guns blazing. Todd’s raspy and grovel-like vocals suits the song perfectly and even though I think it’s a good song, the chorus never takes off and the song falls a bit on the way-side. It might work well live, though.
Taking on a more early 90’s twist of American Hard Rock, when Sleaze, Glam and Arena Rock became blended with darker moods, ”Junk” comes on with lots of attitude and rough edges albeit with a sleazy outlook. It’s a gritty, lo-fi number with a punchy edge and some gang-vocals on the big chorus to be shouted when played live. Great stuff. The semi-ballad ”Wasting No More Time” holds a Classic Rock groove to it. It’s on the upbeat side with bluesy undertones, an edgy organ and a dream-like flow. It’s a rootsy number with a bit of a southern touch to it as well and the chorus is elegantly catchy. Probably their best upbeat ballad since ”Don’t Go Away” from Black Butterfly.
More balladry comes our way, this time a real slow-burner called ”The Way”. Sparse and fastidious, the song blends some 70’s Classic Rock with a bit of 80’s power-balladry. It’s smooth yet with a groove where piano and acoustic guitars dominates the sound image but the rhythmic foundation is of the solid kind. Beatles shines through here but there’s also a bit of a Southern Rock twist to it. The chorus is nothing short of amazing and the whole tune smells of a hit a long way. Great. The album closes with ”Barricades”, a stompy, rowdy and unruly dust-kicker with a juicy pop-chunk. It’s meaty in a mid-pace with some edgy guitars and a strong main-melody with a fat, heavy groove. The chorus is good yet not great but it sports a solid live-spark.
What we get here is a short and concise, 10-track Rock album with classic Buckcherry sounds all over. Quality wise, the band has released their strongest effort since the underrated Confessions, very potent and competent. The band have a new-found spark here and they feel alive and kicking with lots of attitude, grit and vigour but it’s also very melodic and contains a truck-load of hooks and memorable melodies. Sure, they won’t throw a whole bunch of surprises our way, with Buckcherry it’s what you see is what you get but on the other hand, that’s exactly what I want from them. I want a kick-ass, sleazy Hard Rock record with a bunch of damn good songs and that’s exactly what this album treats me with.