Buckcherry - 15 Review
by Travis Becker
Buckcherry provided a dose of something entirely different when their debut album shot up the charts in 1999 on the strength of hit singles like "Lit Up" and "For the Movies". The band joined the LA glam metal styling of Guns N Roses to a modern sound that was just right for modern rock radio in a shotgun wedding celebrating sex, tattoos, and of course, "the cocaine." The band struggled to maintain momentum under the leadership of the unpredictable Josh Todd, and after one more album the band imploded with Todd moving on to begin a solo career. Well, perhaps banking on the name recognition of his former band, Todd is back with a new Buckcherry and a new album, but pretty much the same old sound.
From the first riffs of "So Far", on new album 15, it's clear that Buckcherry hasn't missed a beat since Timebomb in 2001. If anything, some of the unrestrained rawness of that record has been trimmed away in favor of a smoother, more radio-ready sound like that on their self-titled debut. Along with the first track, "Next 2 You" and "Out of Line" are ready for the FM dial, with a little creative editing of course. Well placed profanity and tales of Hollywood lust and debauchery still make up the band's bread and butter and will help their cause as before. If anything the sound is a little more subdued even than the debut, but the poppier and experimental leanings of Todd's solo record are gone, in favor of the bands signature riffed out Rock style.
Todd steals the show, of course, with his juiced up screams and petulant pleading. He's just one of those characters that belong in a band, an LA band to be specific. "Crazy Bitch", while not radio material is the kind of song in which Todd seems to feel the most comfortable. Original Buckcherry guitarist, Keith Nelson produces and his input behind the boards and on guitar helps Todd to stay focused and avoid the scattershot pitfalls of his solo album. Well-placed strings and pretty good pacing make the record a pretty good listen overall, but it does drag just a bit in the middle. Nelson also throws some mean soloing into the mix for good measure. To their credit, the band achieves the big sounds and the hooky songs they're known for without a big time producer like Terry Date to get it out of them.
Buckcherry does what they do best on 15. While you could say that the band just doesn't really break any new ground, you could also make a case for the fact that they're sitting in the same hole they were in on their debut, only without a gigantic track like "Lit Up" to sell it to the masses. "Everything" sounds a little bit too much like "For the Movies" and "Crazy Bitch" could be roughly equivalent to "Dirty Mind". Not reinventing the wheel is one thing, but driving around in circles is quite another.
Either way, the band should find many of their fans, who were thrown from the train when it derailed a few years ago, still waiting for them as they pull back past the station. But, if you own Buckcherry, and haven't played it in a while. let's just say you could save yourself a few bucks and leave it at that. The world probably needs a guy to fill the crazed, tattooed, drugged-out, hip-wiggling rock and roll frontman role, though, and as Davy Jones is now on Broadway and Axl can't seem to get his act together, Josh Todd should fill in as well as anyone.
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