Hard rock veterans PAPA ROACH have been are into their third decade, with eight studio albums under their belt, and brought us such hits as Last Resort and Getting Away With Murder that have been a constant feature on playlists. They’re showing no sign of slowing down as they release their latest album Crooked Teeth this year.
The first thing to notice about Break The Fall is Jacoby Shaddix rapping, intertwined with clean vocals on the chorus on this overall angry, but quite catchy song. Towards the end, there’s a section of spoken words repeating “gotta keep my head together”, each time more desperate in a very recognisably PAPA ROACH sound. Crooked Teeth’s title track comes back a bit heavier, the main theme being anxiety, mentions of hyperventilating and the repeated “everybody’s looking at me”. The instrumental section really compliments the anxiety fuelled lyrics, building on that uncomfortable, anxious feeling.
My Medication starts off with gentle guitars, and is lyrically driven with the distinctive vocals and unhappy subject matter – drugs and addiction. The blunt descriptions suicides, drugs, and prostitutes have made PAPA ROACH famous over their career have not been forgotten about here. Gentler choruses that stand out against the heavier verses prove great to sing along to. Again rap features in the lyrical style alongside the more musically spoken PAPA ROACH are known for. Born For Greatness is a step away from PAPA ROACH‘s typical sound, as it would fit comfortably on a pop playlist, with the exception of “we were born for greatness” shouted at intervals and the introduction which is very HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD. It is possibly indicative of a new PAPA ROACH sound which we can expect more in future album.
Periscope features Skylar Grey’s vocals in this emotional love ballad with gentle guitars supporting the powerful vocal chemistry between the two singers. A different sound for the rock band, but links back to their gentler songs, such as Medication with the focus on emotional lyrics. Crooked Teeth is only the second album PAPA ROACH have had guests on, and again they have opted for a female singer and male rapper as on their last album F.E.A.R. Help jumps back in with Jacoby Shaddix’s distinctive vocals declaring “I need help!”, this is PAPA ROACH through and through. Reminiscent of old school classic Scars, with a strong drum beat to dance to and desperate, imploring lyrics to belt out alongside Jacoby’s soaring vocals.
The album wraps up on None Of The Above which is possibly the most different song on the album, with less of the grungy sounds in favour of electronic, but it does still have Jacoby’s iconic vocals and is a fantastic song to head bang or jump to, sure to be a hit live.
It’s hard to decide whether PAPA ROACH are trying to take their music in a new direction or just experimenting on a few songs whilst keeping their original sound the main theme. It feels a bit confused as an album. There are some songs honest to PAPA ROACH’s sound and their long standing fan base, but also a range of pop and rap songs that might attract new fans.
Crooked Teeth is out now via Eleven Seven Music.
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