The American rockers are about to unleash their ninth studio album on the world, entitled Crooked Teeth.
There was once a time when these former giants meant something – seriously – helping to spread the wings of that horribly coined music genre known as Nu-metal.
The album opens with ‘Break The Fall’, which I have to say, is one of the stronger offerings on the album. Lead singer Jacoby Shaddix tries to bust out some of his rapping skills on the verses, which are rapidly erased from your thoughts with a gigantic and anthemic chorus. Unfortunately, it ends before it really has a chance to get going, and has a foreboding that the songs to come will suffer the same fate. Next up is the title track, which is a catchy above-board rocker with a visceral pace that grabs your attention immediately, sounding as though the band have been given a booster injection.
The next two tracks fall into the category of what I would refer to as Horrible Nu-metal. ‘My Medication’ tries too hard to capture a sound similar to the Papa Roach of old, and is largely forgettable on the whole. ‘Born for Greatness’ is a mash-up of rap mixed with the vibes of current mainstream pop and, as you would expect, it’s a rather painful experience to endure. It’s a classic as far as lazily produced and badly executed experimentations go – born for greatness it most certainly is not. ‘American Dream’ possesses melodic lines and a certain call of rock epics, while ‘Periscope’, takes a much softer and melancholic route, and despite been a highlight on the album, sounds oddly out of place among the other nine tracks.
The new record was written and recorded in a North Hollywood studio, while it was produced by first timers Nicholas “RAS” Furlong and Colin Brittain, who were both fans of the band‘s early sound. Furlong said, “The whole idea was to take the classic elements of Papa Roach that everyone loved and revamp them into a modern version of the sound through the creative process, and we ended up with a bold, courageous and more adventurous version of Papa Roach.”
Come the end of Crooked Teeth you’ll find your attention in the album begin to dwindle, as the music plods along, lacking any real hooks or engagement, becoming nothing more than frustrating background music. ‘Sunrise Trailer Park’ is a particular low point on the album, boasting cringe-worthy try-hard raps that make you beg for earplugs. Lyrically it’s an album crammed full of the usual miserable content you would expect from a band like Papa Roach, which is tired, clichéd and frankly rather annoying and embarrassing to listen to.
For anyone expecting to hear something akin to their 2000 hit single ‘Last Resort’ will have to look elsewhere, or simply stick on copies of their old CDs. This album is the sound of a band not trying to break new boundaries or to reinvent the wheel, but content with where they are now in their career, and it certainly – and thankfully – won’t resurrect the popularity of the Nu-metal brigade. Crooked Teeth sits firmly in the middle of the road, which is the worst place to be.