Comparable to their best

Buckcherry were once the great saviours of American rock n’ roll before disappearing in a mire of sub-standard albums that carried one or two memorable tracks on a base of filler. Still, on those memorable tracks the band always sounded ready to throw down like it was 1980-something where the party is always at their place.

On first appearances, this album has some of the best swagger Buckcherry has managed to muster in some time, as the opening trio 5 4 3 2 1, So Hott and Hellbound aim to start a party in your ears. Taking the best from all the forerunners, leaning heavily on the AC/DC formula, with an extra shot of sleaze to make sure the wrong kind of people are paying attention.

No More Lies changes the formula, slowing the rock pace with a reggae style bass line under pinning the first power ballad on the album. But this isn’t the kind of ballad that has the listener reaching for the skip button. That funky bass line holds your attention enough that you are too busy bobbing your head to notice just how well this musical experiment has worked for the band.

The hits keep coming, proving that Buckcherry, and vocalist Josh Todd in particular, are on a rich vein of form. Junk and Here I Come keep the rock n roll train rattling along in perfect form as guitarist Billy Rowe rips from perfectly placed solo to perfectly under stated solo. Even the slow pace of Wasting No More Time doesn’t feel out of place. If you have managed to read one of my usual anti-ballad tirades you would know how much I dislike the album handbrake that this kind of track usually is, although here it just feels right. Unfortunately, this feeling quickly erodes as The Way overdoes the syrup and brings the rock party to a halt. One genuine ballad, it turns out, is enough.

Hellbound manages to come to a confident close as Barricade takes a bit of everything from the previous 30 minutes of rock excess and summarises it with the best solo of the album. This album is as focused as Josh Todd’s Conflict project, and the Confessions album released in 2013. The fact that Buckcherry managed to sit on this since late last year is to be commended. Tt could have been rush released and missed more than it already will be by those that aren’t aware that they are still the great rock n’ roll hope they have always been. Easily comparable to the earliest (and best) output by Josh Todd and his cohorts.

1. 5 4 3 2 1
2. So Hott
3. Hellbound
4. Gun
5. No More Lies
6. Here I Come
7. Junk
8. Wasting No More Time
9. The Way
10. Barricade