What in the name of Joey DeMaio’s bonk eye has been going on in UK this past couple of weeks whilst I’ve been off giving my xenomorph cranium some much needed sunshine?
I arrive back over the weekend to find the country baking in Caribbean style temperatures, Man City winners of the treble, the Tory party (once again) openly imploding and Buckcherry in the Top 20 official UK album chart.
Thankfully (for me) the latter wasn’t that much of a surprise as having the band’s tenth studio record pretty much on constant loop during my sabbatical I’d have been disappointed if it hadn’t been an instant success with the fans, as (for yours truly) ‘Vol.10’ really is the sound of Buckcherry at the top of their game once again.
Okay, I’m a bit of an old school Buckcherry fanboy, loving both their ‘Self-titled’ debut from 1999 and (still my favourite album by them) 2001’s ‘Time Bomb’, and as such have travelled far and wide to see the band live, but I must admit that ever since the ‘Rock N Roll’ album kind of “appeared” in my CD collection back in 2015, I haven’t really been that enthused by what the band have come up with. Until now!
I think it’s safe to say that when Jetboy/American Heartbreak guitarist Billy Rowe joined the Buckcherry ranks frontman Josh Todd was looking to restore the song writing balance in favour of the liquor and poker bar band tunes that they had always excelled in writing, and 2021’s ‘Hellbound’ (the band’s first record for Earache Records in Europe) was a major step back in the right direction for the band following the decent if rather disappointing ‘Warpaint’ album, a record you must remember that had been preceded by Todd and guitarist Stevie D venturing off into the world of rock/rap crossover via their Spraygun War project.
“So, what’s so great about ‘Vol. 10’? I hear you cry.
Well, this eleven tracker picks up pretty much where ‘Hellbound’ left off, with Marti Frederiksen reuniting with the band as producer, and the band line up of Todd, D, Rowe along with drummer Francis Ruiz and bassist Kelly LeMieux all seemingly gelling well together for their second album.
With Frederiksen at the helm the Aerosmith influence is never going to be too far away and here it’s evident from the get-go via opener ‘This And That’, a track that swaggers along with all the sartorial elegance of the late 80s version of the Toxic Twins. This is BIG, balls-out, rock music baby!
The album’s lead video/single ‘Good Time’ which is up next is the type of ‘Next 2 You’ rocker Buckcherry have become synonymous for writing, it’s perfect music to be played in your car with the top down enjoying the current heatwave, or if like me you like to walk everywhere, it’s a tune that’ll see you reach your destination a good three minutes quicker than you did last time.
Likewise, ‘Keep On Fighting’ is knockout stuff, a tune that actually harks back to the sonic fury of the ‘Time Bomb’ album, and if you like your music to come with a bite, this one is designed to take chunks out of your earlobes. Be careful with those anc headphones folks.
Elsewhere ‘Turn It On’ returns to the sassy swing of the record’s opener, and is that a hint of classic Guns N’ Roses I detect on the song’s mid-section? I’ll let you make your mind on that one, because up next we have ‘Feels Like Love’ a tune that whilst being 100% Buckcherry also has me thinking of Def Leppard, Whitesnake, Ozzy Osbourne (or should that be FM/Wildlife) and John Waite. Yes, it’s a love song, but it’s also possibly one of the best the band have ever written.
The thumping ‘One & Only’, and perhaps my favourite track on the album, ‘Shine Your Light’ make the mid-section of ‘Vol. 10 fly-by, and just when you think you have time for a breather (because Buckcherry always put a ballad in around this point in a record, don’t they) up pops ‘Let’s Get Wild’ a party anthem ready made for 2023.
I seem to recall that there was a point during ‘Hellbound’ where I detected a hint of ‘80s Scorpions creeping into the song writing, and here on ‘With You’ I do feel like I wasn’t going completely mad after all. Go on, give the video a spin above and tell me otherwise.
After all these rockers there was always going to be a big piano lead ballad and this comes in the form of ‘Pain’, here Todd turns in a fantastically warm sounding performance using his lower vocal register to maximum effect before the band complete with orchestration take the tune off into the enormodome stratosphere.
Which just leaves the much talked about cover of Brian Adams’ ‘Summer Of 69’ to round off ‘Vol. 10’. Me, I don’t mind it, but never mind how many times I hear this song I can never get over how much Waysted were influenced by (as in ripped it off) for their 1985 single ‘Heaven Tonight’, but that is indeed a story for another day.
‘Vol. 10’ then, is a record chock full of feelgood anthems and alongside Sister Morphine’s long overdue debut they are easily my favourite sleazy rock ‘n’ roll albums of the year so far.
Check it out, you will not be disappointed.