The ominous prophecy that “rock is dead” has hung over the music industry for as long as we can remember. True or not, Buckcherry’s Josh Todd brushes aside such bleak thoughts. And in a two-fingers up to such doom-mongering, Buckcherry’s latest album Rock ‘n’ Roll is a celebration of exactly that.
It’s a big ask to produce an LP that encompasses the many incarnations of such a swaggering, sexy and prolific scene. And it does seem that Rock ‘n’ Roll is an attempt to gloriously spotlight it’s namesake in a short ten tracks. There can be no doubt that Buckcherry are well equipped to attempt such a thing; formed off the back of rock’s golden years, the band have shared stages with AC/DC, Mötley Crüe and Rob Zombie amongst others in their decades long career.
The album is an interesting guided tour of rock through the ages. From balls-out straight up rock to overdrive riffs that kick out classic heavy metal, the sexual undertones of spandex clad legends as well as lower, grunge tinged moments. Opening track Bring It On Back drives a power charged intro with stomping riffs and nod your head rhythms. It’s solid music, but the recent video release toes the line between rock gods and rock stereotypes. The Madness really pulls it out with go-faster riffs and chugging bass lines, though the classic, clean production that runs throughout maybe stops this one just short of really blowing out.
Any release celebrating rock music would not be complete without some kind of nod to the first part of that sacred mantra; sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. And Buckcherry really do shine on the irreverent Tight Pants; complete with all kinds of Steve Tyler-esque innuendo and brass section to bring the funk. Unfortunately Sex Appeal doesn’t quite reach the same notes despite a really great move-your-body riff. Lower tracks like The Feeling Never Dies feel closer to grunge than rock ballads, reminiscent of bands like Temple Of The Dog, and are some of the stand outs on the album.
Without a doubt, Buckcherry’s Rock ‘n’ Roll flies the flag for rock; extolling the various and vital evolutions of the genre. Ten tracks of unalloyed songwriting and slick production, but in attempting to cover so many bases the album does lack the bravery of true rock ’n’ roll in places. And it begs the question, does rock really need any other champion than it’s original forms?