Album Review: Papa Roach - Crooked Teeth

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With nearly ten years behind the band since their last great effort (Metamorphosis was EIGHT years ago now, everybody), Papa Roach are back with their ninth full-length studio record Crooked Teeth. After a pair of mediocre releases in 'F.E.A.R' & 'The Connection', can the band scrape back some of the credibility and interest lost along the way in the last few years, or will Crooked Teeth be consigned to bargain bins across the world?

Kicking off the record with the all-too-familiar but perfectly competent 'Break The Fall', it's pretty clear from the outset that Papa Roach have adopted the age old 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' mindset on their latest record. However, whilst the band fail to stray far from their usual fare, there are some attempts to bring the latest material kicking & screaming into 2017. Appearances on the record from chart-toe-dippers (?) Machine Gun Kelly & Skylar Grey bring about a sense of a band at least trying to introduce some newer elements into their sound, and to the band's credit some of these instances, bar the god-awful appearance from MGK, work out well. However, the tried and tested Papa Roach formula is still here, and for what it's worth, works about well as it has done for the last ten years or so, for better or worse.

The riffs on display here retain the bite most 90's artists looking to re-invent their sound have lost along the way, and Jacoby Shaddix can still throw us a hell of a chorus from time to time. Tracks like 'Help' & 'Born For Greatness' stand out as two of the band's finest moments since Metamorphosis, with the former showing some incredible promise for the band's future beyond this point, whatever that may be at this point. This is how Papa Roach should sound in 2017, this is how radio rock should sound in 2017, and should these singles prove to be the blueprint going forward, I doubt many people will complain.

Clocking in at around 33 minutes, it's nice to see a band show restraint and not outstay their welcome with a bloated 14 song track-listing, largely consisting of slower fodder (I'm looking at you, Stone Sour). Saving one of it's biggest hitters until the latter half of the record's running time proves to be beneficial for the band, renewing interest just as the album starts to become more monotonous than it should be.

What you ultimately have with Crooked Teeth is a record that we, well, expect from Papa Roach, albeit one with a better set of radio-ready tracks behind it. Aforementioned singles Help & Born For Greatness are some of the best material to come from the band in years, and the record rolls along at a fairly consistent pace throughout, rarely eliciting more than a slight head-nod or moment of attention from a passive listener. However, what we should really be asking ourselves, is do Papa Roach need to write another Infest? At this point in a band's career, asking for a passable collection of decent material with a few hits should always suffice.  When a band like Papa Roach have a back catalogue over-flowing with stone-cold classics, non-single tracks on an album like Crooked Teeth are destined to be forgotten, never played live and merely released in order to justify another record, and that can be a shame, especially when these kind of bands release great records late into their lifetimes. Crooked Teeth might not be one of those records, but it is competent, and perfectly fine. And that's okay. 

Written by ​Joey Stoate

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