Five years and three band members removed from their sloppy sophomore album, Buckcherry is back. Time Bomb sounded like a band without energy or inspiration. The time spent re-charging themselves and re-filling band vacancies was definitely time well spent. Fifteen, named for the number of days it took the band to record it, is a bundle of energy and testosterone that harkens back to the stadium rock sounds of Guns N' Roses and Aerosmith.
Fifteen is an aggressive blend of southern blues and classic rock, with charismatic vocals. Replacing a drummer (Xavier Muriel), guitarist (Stevie D.), and bassist (Jimmy Ashhurst) may sound like a completely different band. It is, but in a good way. The changes are not as drastic as INXS' hiring of J.D. Fortune. Buckcherry's two founding members, Josh Todd and Keith Nelson, remain. The three new members energize the band, bringing energy and enthusiasm for the material that was absent from the last offering. Buckcherry has never sounded this solid. Tattooed lead singer, Todd's vocals have an enchantingly rambunctious quality; pulling listeners in from the first time you hear him utter a word.
Todd displays his vocal abilities proudly on "Everything". The soaring anthem's change from laid back to all out rocker allows Todd's vocals to shift from intimate to a classic stadium yowl. Strong vocals throughout the album captivate the listener from the distorted entrance of the storming "So Far" until the frantic conclusion of "Broken Glass". Thankfully, the band only slows down the party for one lighter-inducing rock ballad. "Sorry", co-written with Aerosmith's Marti Frederickson, serves up typical rock ballad material, rescued only by Josh Todd's Axl Rose quality vocals.
The album is overflowing with party music. Blues riffs float around the classic rock base, keeping the album from sounding dated. Trying to listen to songs like the enthralling "Next 2 You" without moving may prove futile. Todd groans, "I've been trying all night long / I've put up with your favorite songs all night" against charging blues riffs and a bustling beat. Returning rock to the principle themes of sex and women, "Crazy B*tch" provides the best hook on the album, begging for heavy strip club rotation - which it will most likely receive for years. The seething song churns along with pounding drums, enthralling riffs, and a volatile guitar solo all adding to the unforgettable (and unprintable) hook.
Fifteen's arrival at the start of spring is perfect timing; screaming for listeners to roll down the car windows and crank the volume. Recording the album in just fifteen days captures spontaneity and exuberance of playing a new song before over thinking and altering them. Sure, the album sounds like many stadium rock bands from years past, but it is easy to forgive the album's lack of innovation because of Buckcherry's sheer swagger and enthusiasm. Rock has not been this fun in a while.
1. "Crazy B*tch"
2. "Next 2 You"
3. "Out Of Line"
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