Papa Roach - 'Crooked Teeth'

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Papa Roach - 'Crooked Teeth'

Deserves to be acknowledged by everyone who claims to love Rock music.

Wow, I wasn't expecting this. The Nu-Metal bad boys have mellowed. They have been fitted for slippers, sat in a comfy chair smoking a pipe and getting ready for a game of bingo. Well not quite, but 'Crooked Teeth' is certainly a marked shift to a style more accessible to an audience who may be unfamiliar with the Papa Roach past.

I suppose it is not totally unexpected as the sound they are most associated with (as heard on their debut and sophomore releases) was abandoned a long time ago, beginning with the 'Getting Away With Murder' album. Anyone who has followed the band's musical trajectory during the intervening years will have noticed a development that has seen them evolve into something, dare I say it, more mature. The attitude is still there in spades, but creatively and performance-wise PR may now be at their most commercial.

Their ninth full-length release contains ten songs (on the regular version) full of trademark nuances alongside elements of Linkin Park (circa 'Minutes To Midnight') and Eminem-like spoken vocal/Rap stylings that impact instantly and beg for radio attention. Even though Papa Roach have always had an ear for a ballad, 'Crooked Teeth' contains greater overall subtlety and is proof indeed that front-man Jacoby Shaddix really can sing. His vocal swagger is drenched in heartfelt emotion one minute and snot-nosed bravado the next, and is the perfect outlet for both the caustic pacier tracks and those of a more reflective bent.

Some songs break down on the back of programmed and sampled enhancements, whilst others are carried along on the back of some crunching riffs and a thumping rhythm section. In some cases ('Break The Fall', 'Crooked Teeth' and 'My Medication'), it is business as usual, although there has been a re-invention of sorts and now there are embellishments to the sound that would never have been included previously. 'Born For Greatness' and 'American Dreams' are mini anthems crying out for arena participation and I can see them being instant inclusions in the live set. Finally take a listen to 'Periscope' which features a telling vocal cameo from Skylar Grey; if this were Harem Scarem or Danger Danger, the AOR and Melodic Rock diehards would be scrambling for the Kleenex.

'Crooked Teeth' deserves to be acknowledged by everyone who claims to love Rock music, not just the established and dedicated fan-base. Gentlemen... take a bow.

Dave Bott

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