I don’t think a history lesson is needed in regard to the musical stylings of Papa Roach, one-time nu-Metal darlings and voice of a generation to Rock gods in waiting. New album Who Do You Trust? (Eleven Seven Music) is now over the horizon and for a band that has been treading water for too long, maybe this is the album that pushes them back to the heights they once reached?
It feels at times though like the band is at some sort of crossroads, indeed in the lead up to its release vocalist Jacoby Shaddix has described this as the most extreme record they have made in terms of songwriting. This extremity, however, isn’t of the Cannibal Corpse kind, it’s more of the brave and bold step away from what they are known for, kind of extreme.
Synthwave is very, very popular and in vogue right now and it appears to have gone down a storm within the Papa Roach camp as opening track ‘The Ending’ enters the fray with some eighties inspired electronics; a mid-tempo track that is not perhaps the way you would have thought the album would have started, depending on your expectations.
The call to arms glory that is ‘Renegade Music’ is very familiar territory, though, for both old and new fans alike, though, and Shaddix really shines through and his seemingly boundless energy makes everything that much more urgent and vital, but in terms of dynamics, any momentum built up is often brought crashing to the ground. ‘Not The Only One’ is perhaps the worst offender, and rather than kick on, instead, there are too many songs that have a foot firmly in the kind of MOR pop-Rock that Bring Me The Horizon are currently peddling.
There is also something about the sound of the album that just doesn’t sit right. I mean the songwriting is very competent, but there is little to no low-end across the board. This lack of rumbling bass doesn’t help the overall sound and gives things a feel of being somewhat watered down and thin; a very strange choice.
On the whole, the album passes by with only a handful of stand-out songs. It’s definitely not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but nothing that really satiates that hunger for big loud Rock anthems. Maybe the production job doesn’t help, and maybe the songs will feel completely different live, but in looking hard at this album, while it has well-crafted moments, on the whole, it’s difficult to see where on earth Papa Roach go next.
6 / 10