15

Buckcherry

15 is audio adrenaline. It’ll make you want to do smoky burnouts in school zones, blast it loud enough to rattle your neighbors’ dentures, and enlist it as your main piece of cardio equipment. Because 15 will, indeed, catapult your heartbeat to breathtaking speeds. After a five-year hiatus and the addition of new members Stevie D (guitar), Jimmy Ashhurst (bass) and Xavier Muriel (drums) alongside co-founders Josh Todd (vocals) and Keith Nelson (guitar), Buckcherry has come roaring back with their third release, the formidable 15. Recorded in as many days, the brevity of the sessions has resulted in an album chockfull of gleeful spontaneity. To the band’s credit, the velocity of their studio work didn’t diminish the album’s professionalism. It’s a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am that sends flowers and candy the next day.

Yes, Buckcherry is indeed a lewd and libidinous party band with raucous, swaggering songs that leave a sticky trail of testosterone in their wake. But the band also possesses an underrated versatility and depth, and this talent is showcased on 15, which embellishes its metal roots with touches of blues, Southern rock, and funk. “So Far” leads the charge, with guitars and vocals in a rowdy, high-speed chase. Helming the tune is Todd, whose soulful, distinctive voice can passionately and intimately croon a ballad, or wail with gravelly, primal abandon, as showcased here. Beneath all of the song’s F-bombs (which underscore its unpretentious earnestness) is an entreaty to do as they did — “I didn’t do it for money/I did it all for free/I did it all to fill the fucking hole inside of me”— and follow your heart’s desire: “Do all your favorite things/Cover it with all your dreams.”

Other barnstormers include “Out of Line,” “Onset,” “Sunshine,” and album’s standout cut, “Crazy Bitch.” It’s an addictive tease of a song with a limber, funky bump ’n’ grind riff that grants satisfaction only through compulsive repetition. And it has compatibly blunt lyrics that could make a sailor blush: “You’re a crazy bitch/But you fuck so good/I’m on top of it.” Could it be with a sly wink that this song is preceded by three of the album’s most tender-hearted cuts? There’s the country rock-flavored toe-tapper, “Carousel,” which has Todd unabashedly singing, “Baby, you still drive me crazy/Your love’s so amazing/You’re never off my mind” and the thunderous power ballad “Sorry,” a nakedly candid lover’s lament. The crown jewel of the bunch is “Everything,” an exuberant, anthemic ballad in which Todd and the gang polish up and proudly flash their considerable musical chops.

Throw a dart at any song on 15 and it will hit a winner. Buckcherry have previously drawn favorable comparisons to classic bands such as Aerosmith, but have now established themselves as a band that will be setting some standards of their own. With material like this, these guys will be around for a long time. Fathers, quake in fear. Daughters, rejoice!

~ Merryl Lentz

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