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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chickenfoot

Chickenfoot III

Review by Larry Toering

Chickenfoot returns with a proverbial, if borderline, masterpiece tucked under their arms, as they cruise through ten slices of near perfection on their sophomore outing. This may not be the greatest album ever made, but it contends with most anything going around today, in any genre. Hagar is in particularly fine form, as are the rest, but he is clearly the leader here, as he can do no wrong. While there are some underlying bumps in the road, there’s nothing they can't handle, as they still worked it out like no other. This is a great album, and although it's not exactly groundbreaking, it's still full of everything it takes. It's just perhaps so far along in the game that it sounds kind of far fetched to achieve such a thing, but if you see it that way, they reached their goal already, and then some. This is a band like no other, as well, even though its personnel is made up of such familiar characters that have such identifiable backgrounds. It comes with a cool 3D cover, and they come with plans to publicize this with all their might. Prepare to be more than satisfied, in fact in some cases, blown away by its monsterous atempt to captivate, as even Hagar's thought provoking lyrics are gone the extra mile over.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Last Temptation

After a nice bit of fun to indicate the mood, Hagar takes the wheel for the most part with a provoking lyric, and a good one at that. This is a very chunky tune with Satriani pulling of a bluesy performance, which is something I didn't expect. There’s much less virtuoso action, and more straightforward solid rock than usually seen from Satriani, including on the debut Chickenfoot album. Right away they establish the welcomed size of their groove. This opener contains all of the elements required to establish the quality of music within this release, as Hagar pours on the fury.

Alright Alright

This doesn't waste anytime getting its point across, as it doesn't take long before the toes are tapping to this hot and spicy track. With its repetitive title and its thumping beat, this is just too infectious to deny its place on the disc. Altogether it's just as good as the opener, but neither seems to have the appeal of some of the rest of the music here. Hagar indicates lyrically what Satriani indicates himself concerning either listening to Jimi Hendrix or just being very influenced by him, because not only is there some dead-ringing homage paid to Hendrix throughout this recording, guitar wise, it obviously doesn't stop here. This is just an observation that any Hendrix fan can't miss.

Different Devil

This is one of the more Van Halen style vocals, and that turns me off on this one. Still, not all is lost, as the guitar does captivate. It's just one of the weaker points of the album. There’s no problem there either though, because it does have “accessibility” written all over it.

Up Next

After getting through that, this is more like it, with entry into much funkier territory. I love the riff here, as Satriani is starting to show that he means to get another side across. An infectious chorus and other vocal talents are expressed here, which includes everything from the lyrics to the fine job Anthony does on backing vocals. It's hard not to be reminded of Van Halen that way here, but the guitar bites with its own teeth, enough to make one forget about that at the same time. Smith comes to life here more than just about anywhere else. This is a fantastic piece of music, and the best track so far. It's like, “Who wants some of us... just who is next?”

Lighten Up

This is a bit of a nasty rocker with Hagar instantly getting a distance established in the social political  arena, and complaining that he doesn't like being pushed around. Some of it is funny, if a bit on the chauvinistic side, to be frank. It lands somewhere between a few of the previous tracks in the process. It’s not the best track here, but not the worst either. This features some of most energetic guitar parts on the disc. All in all. it's just alright for me, this one... but your mileage, indeed, may vary.

Come Closer

There is a much more controlled vibe here, not too bluesy or anything, just really a nice mild and mellow tune. This I definitely enjoy, and it’s probably one of the best of the whole disc. I just love this because they're so laid back it's just so easy to get attached to the sound. A spot on track, this is killer! I really could listen to this all day. It’s great stuff!

Three And A Half Letters

First of all, this is a great track, no questioning that, and Hagar, although taking a different approach to the vocals here, just seems like he is clearly reading the lyrics. Then I think he is purposely doing that to show what it's like in reality, to be in this situation. As he pleads about needing a job. I guess this is shaping up to help forge the Chickenfoot sound and approach, which isn't a bad way to do it. The chorus alone here is hugely thought provoking while a lot of fun at the same time. This is one of the few places where Satriani comes on strong, as well as Smith on drums.

Big Foot

This is the first single, and a video has already come from it. I can safely say after listening many times over, that this is by far the best track this band has recorded so far, so it's a very wise choice for a single. It's kind of hard to deny the ingredients here, as this is a meal I can eat every day, and something I don't think I'll ever tire of. They have accomplished their goal in one fell swoop here. This contains more fun than most entire albums manage to accomplish, I love it!

Dubai Blues

There is some blues here, but it's not primarily a blues number, as it rocks more than anything. In fact I'm not sure why the word “blues” is ever used in a title when the track is not a blues track. I always seem to miss the point when that happens. I have just concluded that it's a metaphor and nothing more. In this case it does slow down in places, but isn't a blues cut by any stretch of the imagination. I love the guitar, and the way it backs the vocals, and Anthony's bass is magnificent here. It's all about having it all, yet no one to really share it with, and how little things tend to matter because of it.

Something Gone Wrong

This one is much more akin to blues than the previous track, even though it, too, is really not a blues track, but not really a ballad either. It's just a nice lovely tune in the vein of  “Come Closer” but it does feature some very very tasty blues licks, as Satriani solos away like a man possessed. Other moments in the tune find him playing soft as a feather acoustic on the other hand, and keeping a real Hendrix sort of vibe at the same time. In fact, sometimes I think he sounds more like Hendrix than himself here. But that is so much better than sounding like Van Halen, so I welcome it myself. It's a very welcome approach. I love the note he ends it on too, a perfect way to end a less than perfect album, one that still somehow threatens to take over the world. So Chickenfoot show that they have more talent in their little fingers than most can ever hope to manage.

 
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