Monday, April 10, 2006



Eleven Seven Music

Start with a base of AC/DC-inspired rock, slather on some Sex Pistols and a scratchy Steven Tyler-like screech, add a few drops of Poison, and ignite it with some LIT.

Enter the unabashed hedonism, raucous lust and unyielding riffs of Buckcherry’s junior effort, “15.” The group’s unapologetic ode to sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll is about as diluted as a shot of grain alcohol and as subtle as a sledgehammer banging on your temple after a long night of smoke and whiskey.

Yet the album, recorded in just 15 days (hence the title) is unrelenting to the point of exhaustion.

The songs cover a broad range of sordid content, a kind of panorama of girls-gone-wild partying that would be a perfect fit in a hair-metal adaptation of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” In their first American album release since 2001, lead singer Josh Todd and guitarist Keith Nelson pair with three new members — drummer Xavier Muriel, guitarist Stevie D. and bassist Jimmy Ashhurst — to deliver rock ‘n’ roll straight up — though, undoubtedly, with a prurient slant.

Right from the start, the quintet (which performs tomorrow at Recher Theatre in Towson, Md., and on Saturday at Jaxx Nightclub in Springfield) more than obliges. Its first single, a song about a rock-band groupie, was inspired by Paris Hilton’s infamous Internet sex tape. However, its title and lyrics, which can’t be reprinted here, make the hotel heiress look like a chaste debutante by comparison.

Other tracks of note on the 11-song disc include the bluesy shout-out (to blacking out) in “Brooklyn,” the cynically reflective, guitar-driven “Onset” and the frenetic lead track, “So Far.” The songs pretty much follow Buckcherry’s signature hard riffs, generous use of distortion and over-the-top lyrics. When the band strays from the formula, it flounders.

When Buckcherry broke up in 2002 following the dissolution of its label, DreamWorks, Mr. Todd and Mr. Nelson performed briefly with the G&R Project, the embryonic version of what would become Velvet Revolver. Unlike Guns N’ Roses, though, Buckcherry doesn’t have the capacity for the power ballad. The few down-tempo attempts on “15” fall back on cliched melodies and boring, bitter lyrics that inappropriately lump the band with quasi-sensitive rock acts such as Fallout Boy and Yellowcard.

Nevertheless, Buckcherry succeeds because unlike the sensitive types of the world, these guys have the guts to sing about what they really believe in — chicks and booze — no matter how distasteful the presentation may be to some.

Sure, Buckcherry is a one-trick pony, but sometimes just one trick can turn a profit.

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