October 22, 2008

CD Review: Buckcherry - Black Butterfly

Way back in 1999 a band from my hometown got signed to a deal with Island Records. They released their album the summer of that year and got a CD release party opening for Fuel. No, it wasn't Buckcherry, but this is how I first came to see the rock and roll act. The local band was called Pound, they were a mediocre, radio-friendly rock act that fell apart shortly after and reformed as Flywheel. Well, Pound is just a footnote in this story, notably primarily for introducing me to Buckcherry and getting me to a Fuel show (who were surprisingly heavy live). Anyway, Buckcherry proved to be a rather exciting act that delivered some nice Aerosmith flavored rock and roll.

I remember picking up their self-titled debut album and falling in love with a couple of their tracks, songs that would go one to be the biggest hits off the disk. Those songs were "Lit Up" and "For the Movies." To this day I still listen to those songs, and a few others off that disk, but I quickly lost track of the band. I never paid much attention to them, no particular reason, I just didn't. I didn't know they released Time Bomb, nor did I know they broke up in 2002 only to reform with some new players in 2005. I somehow was aware of the 2006 release 15, which was a hit reaching platinum status. I don't think I've heard anything off of that release.

buckcherryNot long ago I stumbled across the video for "Too Drunk." At first I thought I was going to hear a cover of the Dead Kennedys' tune, but that was not the case. What I got instead was an old school sleaze and roll song that didn't spare on either account. It is bluesy, infectious, and fun. It also proved to be enough to get me interested in Black Butterfly.

Black Butterfly is a good album. It isn't great by any stretch, but it has a way of worming itself into your brain. If you yearn for the good old days of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll, then Buckcherry is the perfect band for you. They are a solid, tight unit that hearken back to the good old days of Guns n' Roses and Aerosmith, where innuendo was in your face-o and it co-existed with the ballad, remember those? It is not often that a big ol' rock act lets its guard down to exhibit a softer side. Buckcherry is not afraid of letting the staples of the genre go full bore, treading the line carefully, never becoming a parody of that which they obviously love.

The band is led by the fiery presence of Josh Todd. The tattooed vocalist has the perfect voice to front a rock act. He has a voice that has that bit of a rasp to it that offers the perfect delivery for sleazy lyrics, while he has a clean side that exposes a deal of emotion to carry the softer tunes. Behind him is co-founder guitarist Keith Nelson leading the instrumental charge with Stevie D. on guitars, Xavier Muriel on drums, and Jimmy Ashhurst on bass.

When you press play, be sure to pay attention to these highlights: the opening rocker "Rescue Me," the raunchy infectiousness of "Too Drunk," the soft "Don't Go Away," the acoustic driven "All of Me," and what may be the best tune on the album, "Cream."

Bottomline. Not exactly a high water mark for the genre, but definitely solid, easy to listen to, and definitely entertaining. It plays with hard rock bombast, dancing along the edge of going too far, yet stays within the realm of the solid. If you like rock and roll, you will like this album.



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