Despite being active for the best part of two decades, Buckcherry may often rue the fact that they are known primarily for only two songs. Neither Lit Up nor Crazy Bitch, the band’s biggest hits, ever hinted at hidden depths, but Confessions offers a much more thoughtful and persuasive take on that trademark blend of rock’n’roll swagger, punk snot and radio-friendly melodies.
By recounting the highs (both literal and figurative) and lows of frontman Josh Todd’s reckless youth via songs that strike a sublime balance between steely eyed aggression and supine vulnerability, the dark side of Buckcherry’s party rock ethos has been brought deftly to the fore, and it suits them.
Kicking off with the abrasive hymn to hedonism of Gluttony, Confessions certainly continues to tap into the hard-living, gutter-punk grit that has been the hallmark of the LA quintet’s previous records, but here it is the power of rueful morning-after recollections and bleak, cautionary tales that dominate.
Fairweather fans expecting an unapologetic riot of sleazy abandon may find the likes of Sloth, which deals with the suicide of Josh’s father, and the startlingly poetic spoken word splurge of Pride a little more emotionally gruelling than the LA crew’s past efforts, but the dirty grooves of Nothing Left But Tears, Wrath and Seven Ways To Die confirm that Buckcherry are rocking harder and better than ever before.
The difference is that both heart and mind are engaged throughout and the result is both subtly revelatory and the finest album the band have ever made.