REVIEW: PAPA ROACH – “Who Do You Trust?”
Papa Roach remain considered by many to be an integral part of the alternative rock community, a space they still make significant waves in today. With their unique sound and highly energetic live shows, there is little wonder as to why this band are still enjoyed across generations of music lovers. Now, and after a relatively quick turnaround time after the release of their brilliant mid 2017 release ‘Crooked Teeth’, January 18 will see the two time Grammy nominated quartet return with their tenth studio album, ‘Who Do You Trust?’. A return that will delight some, but sadly ceases to be the triumph it should be.
Though Papa Roach have never shied away from deriving new ideas from interesting places to work into their music, at their core lies a fusion between rap and rock which serves as one of their beloved trademark components. “Renegade Music”, with its relentless and rallying chorus, epitomizes this. And yet, whether it is found to be a tip of the hat or simply just pure coincidence, the track overall reflects the masters of this style found in Rage Against The Machine a little too closely. So much so, that the bellowed “Motherfucker!” from vocalist Jacoby Shaddix over Tom Morello styled riffing during its outro makes this nod toward the great indisputable.
‘Who Do You Trust?’ finds its best form in tracks such as the clear album standout, “Feels Like Home”. Kicked off with what will undoubtedly become an instantly recognisable ascending riff by guitarist Jerry Horton, “Feels Like Home” only goes from strength to strength. With its memorable pop-punk verses prefacing an exceptional and infectious melancholy chorus delivered masterfully by Shaddix, this anthem can and will find itself among some the bands contemporary best.
Sonically, the record includes some apparent and even curious choices. Most notably, the lack of bass, or low end overall, makes for a painfully thin and airy delivery throughout. If fans have heard this complaint before, most infamously surrounding the pot stirring Metallica album, ‘…And Justice For All’, the sheer lack of grumble on ‘Why Do You Trust?’ makes what little is on ‘Justice’ feel generous. This, unfortunately, sees some of the albums best tracks suffer, including “Not The Only One” with its hooking intro riff that loosely echoes the Police classic “Message In A Bottle” falling short. Produced for the most part by reenlisting ‘Crooked Teeth’ producer Nick “RAS” Furlong as well as Colin Cunningham and Jason Evigan solely for the questionable “Top Of The World”, it is difficult to imagine how such a strong team, including bassist Tobin Esperance and drummer Tony Palermo, let the ball drop here.
Since their humble beginnings, and even during their rapid ascension, Papa Roach have admirably strived to explore and experiment with their sound. A trait they carry with them to this day, and one that has proven to deliver some magnificent results. If ‘Who Do You Trust?’ doesn’t quite stand among their best work, it doesn’t fall short of having some great moments as well as serving as a testament to Papa Roach and their willingness to take risks in pursuit of further enriching their music.