They might have been darlings of the nu-metal explosion in the early 00’s, but Papa Roach are a band who understand that times and trends move on and, have endeavoured to follow this over what is now a 24-year career. Evolving their sound from the huge riffs and rapped vocals of 2000’s Infest to the heavier end of the American radio rock spectrum, they’ve constantly strived to remain relevant and continued to delight audiences around the world with their fearsome live shows and last Friday saw the release of their ninth studio album Crooked Teeth, released via Eleven Seven and produced by RAS and Colin Brittain.
Clocking in at just 33 and a half minutes long, it’s the shortest album of Papa Roach’s career to date, but the age old saying that ‘good things come in small packages’ couldn’t be truer; this is arguably the best record the band have produced since they rose to prominence at the turn of the millennium and you couldn’t attend a rock club night without hearing ‘Last Resort’ at some point or other. Opening song ‘Break the Fall’ harks back to those earlier days with Jacoby Shaddix’s rapped vocals cutting through you like a knife and boasting a real fist pumper of a chorus – the following title track is a mosh anthem for the ages, with Shaddix’s hushed lines of ‘Everybody’s looking at me, staring at me. Everybody’s looking at me’ sounding ridiculously menacing and ‘My Medication’ equall as bruising. ‘Born for Greatness’, recently used as the main theme to WWE’s ‘Backlash’ pay-per-view, has the potential to divide Papa Roach’s fanbase with it pop metal vibes but its got another massive chorus and is incredibly catchy to boot. ‘American Dream’ and ‘Periscope’ (the latter a surprisingly emotional duet with Skylar Grey) don’t match the intensity of the opening four songs but hold their own well – the former with a wicked line of ‘It’s harder to breath when you’re buried alive‘ that was just made for an arena sing-a-longs. The one downside to this album is ‘Sunrise Trailer Park’ – another collaboration, this one with Machine Gun Kelly – which veers far more towards hip-hop than rock and as a result doesn’t really work with the rest of the album as a collective body of work. It picks up again though with the punch and anger of ‘Traumatic’ and closing song ‘None of the Above’ ends the album on the strongest note possible; there are more electronic strains in the background but it compliments the dark tone of the song brilliantly.
It’s a cliche thrown around a lot but in the case of Crooked Teeth, it’s completely true – the minutes this is finished, you just want to go back to the beginning and listen all over again. Papa Roach are still as relevant in 2017 as they ever were, and whilst their musical output has never really been mediocre, they’ve outdone themselves on Crooked Teeth in many different ways.
Jacoby Shaddix – vocals
Jerry Horton – guitars, backing vocals
Tobin Esperance – bass, backing vocals, programming
Tony Palermo – drums, percussion
Break the Fall
Born for Greatness
Sunrise Trailer Park
None of the Above