If I still had to explain who Chicketfoot are, then I would suggest you were reading the wrong website! So I will pass on the history lesson for hard rock's newest "supergroup", but it is safe to say that they are, by pedigree, truly deserving of the term.|
To say the hype machine was in overdrive for the debut album from Sammy Hagar, Chad Smith, Joe Satriani and Michael Anthony is an understatement.
Thanks to some savvy advance marketing and some bizarre statements from the likes of Hagar, who stated the group could rival Led Zeppelin – expectations were high.
I'm happy to say that for my opinion those very high expectations have almost been met, which equates to a pretty damn good record.
What the album lacks in knock-them-dead songwriting, it more than makes up for in groove. There is a definite avoidance of big chorus hooks here, but groove is the order of the day.
I'm not blown away by every song but boy…the electricity of the performances here is second to none and you can't help but be drawn in by the amazing energy emanating from the record and the individuals involved. When I play it – I play it loud and love every minute of it. But at the same time, it's not an album I'll play every day.
Hagar sounds as good as I have heard him in recent years and back to his Van Halen best.
Michael Anthony proves why he was the missing element on the VH-Roth reunion with some fantastic backing vocals and screams and his bass playing is phenomenal. What was Eddie VH thinking in ever dissing the man's talents??
Chad Smith forms an unbreakable bond with Anthony to provide the biggest, baddest, fattest rhythm section in rock n roll.
Joe Satriani proves that he is indeed one of the finest guitarists in the world in any genre and gives EVH a true run for his money.
Each puts in a career defining performance and it is all captured absolutely magnificently by producer Andy Johns.
I can see why Hagar used the Zeppelin analogy. Andy John's signature Zep vibe and the retro sounding loose rock n roll of the material here definitely has that classic rock 70s feel. Perhaps if Led Zeppelin hadn't already done everything possible previously, this record would be regarded as more groundbreaking. Today it isn't, but it still sounds fresh and invigorating.
I had some reservations that the overall tempo of the album was a little plodding, but the groove is just so infectious.
If you look at the debut Mr. Big album, as good as it was, it has the same feel – a group of musicians getting to know each other's groove. But on album number two, after extensive touring and living together – getting both tighter and looser at the same time – the band exploded into brilliance and perhaps that will be the case with Chickenfoot's sophomore release.
Right now though, Chickenfoot's debut certainly doesn't play by the rules. The dark and intense opening track features a very subdued chorus almost undefined to the rest of the song, but some amazingly intricate guitar parts and a sense that you could almost be there in the studio with the band as they laid down these tracks. The closing soloing is outstanding.
The power groove of Soap On A Rope is intense and the interplay between the guys in the last minute of the song is something special.
Sexy Little Thing, Oh Yeah and Runnin' Out keep the groove momentum going with some catchy moments before the semi-instrumental Get It Up sees the guys really let fly.
Down The Drain is one of those very special moments in music that allows the listener to witness a very special group of musicians just jamming away and you can literally feel the smiles on their faces as they go about it.
My Kinda Girl is the feel-good uptempo number of the album and Learning To Fall is the serious and sentimental moment.
I'm not so much into the extreme retro vibe of Turnin' Left or the funk/boogie of Future In The Past, until the second half of the song turns more intense.
The bonus track for the LP and the Japanese release is the semi-acoustic, loose blues rocker Bitten By The Wolf. An interesting track showcasing a different side of the band, but definitely worthy of being a 'bonus track' and not on all forms of the album.
I will say though - the packaging although a novelty - is absolute shit. If you are going to do something special, make it look a little better than a piece of cardboard with a CD wedged in-between.
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