While some may remember Papa Roach for their early 2000s success, they’re now on to album #9. In the years following ‘Infest’, the Californian quartet have shaken off the nu-metal tag to become an alt-metal powerhouse. Nevertheless, ‘Crooked Teeth’ sees the band rekindle their admiration for rap-rock but with a healthy dose of big guitars.
‘Break The Fall’, ‘Crooked Teeth’, and ‘My Medication’, deliver an early hat-trick of what we’ve come to expect from Papa Roach; anthemic hooks, sharp riffs and Jacoby Shaddix’s charismatic, angst-fuelled vocals firmly intact. Together, they settle you in with familiarity but then ‘Born For Greatness’ arrives and kills the momentum. With its pure made-for-radio production, it waddles along with its dominating hip-hop beat and unfortunate basic hook of ‘we were born for greatness’.
‘American Dream’ attempts to put things back on track with another slice of anthemic hard rock, only for ‘Periscope’ to come along and drop the tempo. Joined by songstress Skylar Grey, the mellow, atmospheric number builds admirably but is ultimately anti-climatic.
Thankfully ‘Help’ arrives as the album wake up call. A stomping, explosive number that sees Papa Roach make use of their best strengths; emotionally-charged and infectious. However, it’s clear ‘Crooked Teeth’ is an inconsistent record. ‘Sunrise Trailer Park’ follows with Shaddix spitting rhymes with Machine Gun Kelly as they reflect on a troubled past, accompanied by police siren sound effects.
The frantic ‘Traumatic’ harkens back Papa Roach’s nu-metal days with its dense guitar work from Jerry Holton and rumbling rhythm section. ‘None of the Above’ rounds things off in an ideal fashion, going back and forth between razor sharp guitars, impassioned vocals and slickly produced hip-hop breaks.
Although ‘Crooked Teeth’ suffers from a few ill-advised additions, it’s sure to still please those who have stuck by the band for the best part of 15 years. At its core is a handful of noteworthy songs that are sure to add to Papa Roach’s legacy.
‘Crooked Teeth’ by Papa Roach is released on 19th May on Eleven Seven Music.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)