Papa Roach are back in 2017 after a few years wait with a scorching new album that is destined to be one of the top albums of the year. Crooked Teeth is the ninth studio offering from the band whose career has spanned over two decades.
Crooked Teeth begins with ‘Break The Fall’, an eerie opener for the album, as the solo guitar with the echoey choral vocals builds intrigue. Papa Roach have occasionally stepped back from the rap rock vibe but they’re back in full force with front man Jacoby Shaddix spitting bars in the verse which contrasts well to the huge anthemic chorus. ‘Break The Fall’ seems to be the missing link in between their debut album Infest and their last offering Face Everything And Rise.
P Roach aren’t afraid of smashing you in the face with a chorus that will have you belting it out for days and title track Crooked Teeth is no different. The guitars are pace-y and fierce, this would be great song to work out to. The rhythm section consisting of drummer Tony Palermo and bassist Tobin Esperance combine superbly in the track, with the overall feel one of exhilaration.
‘My Medication’ begins acoustically with the focus being on the lyrical content of the song “Fucked in the head, from all the things that we did, but I will never forget I need you, my medication”. Shaddix has always been an open front man regarding his lyrics and in this track he doesn’t shy away from his past demons. The instrumental aspect of the song is purely background noise to the story being told within the lyrics; however guitarist Jerry Horton interrupts the latter part of the song with small guitar solos.
The sound of euphoric brass begins ‘Born For Greatness’, the track has a real Imagine Dragons vibe to it with the addition of extra percussion. There is a more of an electronic timbre to the vocals and the addition of synthesisers again demonstrates that Papa Roach are experimenting with contrastive styles to their original early 2000s sound. The pre-chorus builds with a beat ready for crowds to clap along to; the guitar heavy breakdown chorus will come as a delight to the head bangers among us as it dominates the track with the chant of “We’re not nameless, we’re not faceless, we were born for greatness”. The pace of this album has showed no signs of deceleration and the pace of ‘American Dream’ may not be the speediest of tracks but still has a powerful punch to it.
2015’s ‘Face Everything and Rise’ featured guest vocals from In This Moment’s Maria Brink and P Roach have again decided to collaborate with a female artist on their album, this time around it is Grammy winning song-writer Skylar Grey. ‘Periscope’ is an opportunity for Shaddix to showcase his clean vocals that are complemented by the beautiful tones of Grey’s. ‘Help’ has been online for a few months now and has nothing but positive responses from the fans. The song itself is the epitome of the Papa Roach evolution; there is a real life story behind the lyrics whilst accompanied by great rock musicality. The band seem more cohesive than ever before, they worked with producers that were also big fans of the band growing up; Nicholas “RAS” Furlong and Colin Brittain. The music elements of the album are reminiscent of the earliest Papa Roach work; the fundamental brutal rawness of the lyrical content crossed with the hip hop and rock mash-up compositions are what makes the fans both new and old coming back for more from this band.
Rapper Machine Gun Kelly also features on the album in the track ‘Sunrise Trailer Park’. The song has an electro-acoustic feel to it; the track is a little slower and this element crossed with the hip hop vocals from both MGK and Shaddix gives this song depth and is a great example of P Roach again crossing over genres. The track, or any on the album as a matter of fact, would be suitable for airplay on any mainstream radio station, the guitar solo that ends the track is super simple but that’s what makes this band so great; they do the ordinary things very well and the extraordinary things even better.
The pace of the album is brought back up to speed with ‘Traumatic’; there is almost a nu metal vibe to the opening chorus – the rhythms are infectious. There are so many features to this song, the verses are fast paced and have a chugging guitar in accompaniment, yet the pre chorus is minimalistic that builds up to the wild and aggressive chorus.
Closer ‘None Of The Above’ has again those synthesisers that were used heavily in the band’s last two albums and is probably the track that would make anyone go “That’s Papa Roach?!” the Papa Roach purists will probably not get on with this offering, however that doesn’t mean that it is a bad song. It shows a development but maybe it is a slight step too far away from their core.
On the whole this album is great and well above average, the dedicated Papa Roach fans will welcome it with open arms however the traditionalists may struggle with it on first listen. It’s great to see bands with longevity in their career still churning out great rock songs even over two decades into their musical life and not just constraining themselves to a one genre box.
The band are about to embark on a North American tour! For all dates and ticket info please go to their website: http://www.paparoach.com/tour/