For My Friends
It’s been some time since this band was known for something other than some pudgy girl in a bumble bee costume. The best way I could think of summing up this album is that if Chinese Democracy lives up to the potential it once had, in the way that Blind Melon has, then Axl will without a doubt regain his throne as king asshole.
They were bold in their attempt to re-create their sound. Their new singer, Travis Warren, has almost identical vocal chops as Shannon Hoon. Throw in a little Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips and you’ve got your man. The band is still, as Dan Patrick so calmly put it, “en fuego.” Time was taken to create this album, and that’s the one thing that the fat cats need to figure out if they want to keep eating the way they do. The riffs intertwine like twizlers making for some scrumdiddlyumpcious tunes.
The title track “For My Friends” starts the album off by throwing Travis to the forefront right off the bat. His finely tuned vocals are backed by a soft guitar and some weak wrist drums making his words the most prevalent part of the track. The band really shows of their rock with the track “Make a Difference.” It’s hard, heavy, and has strong melodies throughout the song. The drums seem like they were delicately designed on this track. You can really tell that this had to have been the drummer Glen Graham’s favorite track as he really threw down on the heavy sections, and kept the blood flowing through the quieter ones. You can tell he really spent his time adding every intricacy he could muster.
It’s hard to say that one person stands out more than anyone else as being top dog in this band. They may have taken eleven years off between albums, but that doesn’t mean they put down their instruments. The guitarists Christopher Thorn and Roger Stevens continue to play their part as the ideal pair. They compliment each other by filling out harmonies and keep the songs thick like a good stout. Brad Smith, the bassist, stands out on the track “Hypnotize” by mixing it up by bouncing around and throwing in seamless lines of notes sliding from one to the next. It gives the song a smooth feel as the sections flow into each other with unexpected ease.
With thirteen tracks running for fifty minutes, I would say the charge of twenty cents a minute is worth way more than the the beer and a half you could buy for the ten dollars you would have to shell out on iTunes for the album. And the buzz will last a lot longer.