REVIEW: JOSH TODD & THE CONFLICT – “Year Of The Tiger”
Buckcherry fans who found themselves disappointed that the band are beginning to wind down their year may sob no more. For the newest old band on the block, Josh Todd & The Conflict features the prolific Buckcherry vocalist, Josh Todd as well his right-hand man of the same band, riff maestro and guitarist Stevie D. With their debut offering, ‘Year of the Tiger’, set for release this September via Century Media Records as JT&C commit to keep the party going strong, readying themselves to take this dangerous and dynamic debut to every nook and cranny this world has to offer.
With a straightforward, unapologetic punch, the record kicks off with title track “Year of the Tiger”. Purveyors of the sexy, hard rock sound that defined their career, these opening moments are as raw and edgy as they come, straying more toward the unhinged stylings of punk. A somewhat newer and risky direction for the experienced rockers, but it works. As does the more solid, interlocking riffs found in “Fucked Up”, “Inside” and the aptly titled “Story of My Life,” where relative newcomers, bassist Greg Cash and drummer Sean Winchester get to shine.
If their risk-taking often hits the target, in songs such such as “Rain”, which serves as the album’s cool lull with its bluesy “stomp, clap, stomp” rhythm, in other songs it unfortunately misses the mark. “Good Enough” doesn’t live up to its title and works as bedroom busker banter at best, like musicians at a party when they’re a bottle of whiskey and three or four boilermakers deep. It does little more than that, in both execution and production, surprising given that Erik Kretz sits in the producer’s chair. Yet if “Good Enough” doesn’t quite reach the expected standards, “Erotic City” exceeds them, becoming a byword for everything that does work on this record, highlighting the peak of JT&C’s playing and writing.
‘Year of the Tiger’ sounds like half new blood, half seasoned pros, taking stock and expanding their sonar pallet, getting it right most of the time, but risking getting it wrong in places, too. Both Todd and Stevie D have lived, loved and levelled the hedonistic Rockstar lifestyle and, damn, did they do an excellent job. Yet while it’s never not a blast to knock back a few and sing “Crazy Bitch” at the end of the night, these days even Jagger has some questionable moves. What this record does at its best is avoid going over old ground too much, while demonstrating that these songwriters still have the ability to produce vibrant, versatile and vigorous moments outside of their usual namesake, proclaiming loud and proud that these guys are far from done.