Buckcherry – ‘Warpaint’

By Louis Kerry

Sun, sex and suspicious vocal chords. No this isn’t a new BBC show, it’s everything that comes to mind when you think of Buckcherry. The Californian hard rockers are back with their eighth album ‘Warpaint’ and it is a far cry from their prime.

When you have Greta Van Fleet being heralded as the saviours of rock and roll, Buckcherry are acting as a clear reminder of why it needs saving in the first place. Even though they would now be considered as veterans of the game, it’s the likes of their cliché filled lyrics on ‘Right Now’, the forgettable chorus of mediocre ballad ‘Radio Song’ and the embarrassing country influenced momentum killer ‘The Hunger’ that does little to no justice for their scene and for themselves in sounding at all relevant.

Frontman Josh Todd’s vocals have always divided opinion amongst fans. Unfortunately his excessive rasp becomes too much to bare at various points. Comparable to the noise of cat being dragged through the mud, Todd sounds like he’s struggling to hit just about every big note on the album.

Despite this, ‘Warpaint’ does contain some glimmers of boisterous hope, whether that be the epic solo in the opening title track by lead guitarist Stevie D or his glamtastic riffs in ‘The Vacuum’ and ‘Back Down’. Stevie D is still the soul of the band, creating moments throughout the album that remind you of their former glories.

Sometimes when bands include cover songs slap bang in the middle of an album, it screams lack of ideas. A quick and easy way of filling the studio time without too much thought or hard work. Luckily, this is not the case with Buckcherry’s splendid take on Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Head Like A Hole’. Produced by Mike Plontikoff for the first time since he worked with the band on their critically acclaimed 15 album, it’s the pivotal juncture in the album where they sound their finest. Todd’s vocals are actually on point as he attacks the lyrics with conviction whilst the riffs are given a heavier approach. Recreating this classic track into a hard rock party song was just what was needed to bring ‘Warpaint’ back to life.

‘Bent’ is another clear highlight. Featuring an inspired chorus and melody, it’s the first time where the band sound like they’ve matured, bringing their 20+ years experience to the forefront, as the sleaze rock influenced track would be the ultimate driving tune for any high speed cruise down the sunset strip.

With the release of the new Motley Crue biopic on its way out, ‘Warpaint’ would make a great accompanying soundtrack full of lyrics depicting a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Ultimately though Buckcherry have done little to attract any new fans or make a fresh mark for themselves. Aside from an impressive cover track, ‘Warpaint’ is more than likely going to be forgotten about as quickly as it took for Josh Todd to forget how to sing.

LOUIS KERRY

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