want to get the party started on All Night Long
, but this veteran hard-rock band have one big problem: They didn’t bring enough good songs to the soiree. The Los Angeles group’s fifth studio album leans heavily on loose-and-lusty rock numbers, ratcheting up the aggression after 2008’s more mid-tempo Black Butterfly
, but the increase in volume doesn’t equate to an increase in terrific music.
Getting in Touch with Their AC/DC Side
Most Buckcherry albums feature at least one terrific rocker and one superb ballad that together demonstrate the band’s dynamic range. But with Black Butterfly
, Buckcherry started showing signs that their ability to write Sunset Strip-inspired sleaze-rock tunes was fading; when band principals Josh Todd and Keith Nelson ignored their desire to write party-hearty anthems and focus on more melodic material, the results were much more rewarding. All Night Long
finds the group refocusing their priorities and embracing the AC/DC
and Guns N’ Roses
side of their bad-boy personality, as if to prove they haven’t lost a step as they enter their 40s.
Rockers That Don't Rock
The quintet announce their agenda from the outset of All Night Long. The title track is a cowbell-and-swagger guitar rocker in which Todd sings about good times and rock ‘n’ roll, sounding like a politician making sure to nail all of the buzzwords that will placate his constituents. After that comes “It’s a Party,” a cocky, libidinous song about … good times and rock ‘n’ roll. Both tracks have all the hallmarks of mainstream hard rock: combustive guitars, pounding drums, wailed vocals, snarling attitude. But neither tune detonates because of their generic, almost calculated approach. Buckcherry want to convince you that they know how to rock like a mother, but the songs feel painfully self-conscious, almost defensive. The band close the album with “Dead,” an angry rebuke to critics who dismissed their generation’s dreams. Usually such anthems are written by young people still under the thumb of their elders, but considering Todd and Nelson’s age, it feels like another attempt to recapture an era that has passed them by.
But if Buckcherry largely strike out trying to rock the house on All Night Long, are they still strong ballad writers? Even here they seem a little limp. While softer songs take a backseat on All Night Long, the ones that did make the cut aren’t particularly noteworthy. “I Want You” is a pretty standard love song that starts off delicately before exploding into a predictably fiery chorus complete with impassioned guitar solos. And on “Bliss,” the narrator pledges his eternal love, although the song lacks the spark that would make a listener feel such ardor. All Night Long’s best track, “These Things,” follows the quiet-verse/loud-chorus formula, but it’s one of the rare moments on the album when Todd and Nelson latch onto a really potent melody, elevating familiar sentiments with captivating music.
'All Night Long' – Bottom Line
Buckcherry have never specialized in soul-searching, intricately crafted rock. No, they’re a band who want to hit you like a sledgehammer with their songs, and at their best they make music whose simplicity and immediacy are their greatest attributes. But that doesn’t happen enough on All Night Long
. Despite its title, this isn’t an album with much stamina, exuberance or danger.
'All Night Long' – Best Tracks:
“These Things” (Purchase/Download
“Oh My Lord” (Purchase/Download
“Our World” (Purchase/Download
“I Want You” (Purchase/Download
Release date – August 3, 2010
Eleven Seven Records
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publicist. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.