Chevelle
Hats Off to the Bull


2.5
average

Review

by Axel USER (6 Reviews)
December 3rd, 2011 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chevelle do nothing in 2011

Hats off to Chevelle for having been an anomaly in the music industry. Why, because of their unique, sexy sound? Uh, no. It's a little bigger than that - though the sound's pretty tight, in general, I admit. Chevelle were an anomaly in the industry because since entering the mainstream in 2002 with their smash hit "The Red" the band has remained true to that sound yet has varied it from release to release. Which is fucking hard to do if you happen to be a mainstream-radio staple - just ask Linkin Park, Rise Against, or Fall Out Boy (r.i.p.).

Don't agree? Well, look at Chevelle's releases since '02: Wonder What's Next, the foundation of their sound for the decade to follow, right; This Type of Thinking, the generally faster and more abstract lyrically follow-up; Vena Sera, the studio experimental and, gasp, acoustic and electric guitar-mixing breath of fresh air; and then Sci-fi Crimes, the rawer produced and world-conscious lyrical-mainstream hand-grab. Chevelle have done an excellent job of always sounding like themselves yet have never made the exact same album twice, which has pleased fans, critics, and kept their singles fresh and current on the airwaves.

But then we have this, Hats Off to the Bull, the worse album just short of actually being bad that Chevelle could have released. The first single and lead-off track, "Face to the Floor", spells out one of the album's main problems from the onset: a lazy guitar riff, a boring chorus, and lyrics revolving around money and its leaking into the public, or something. Great. But it's no "The Red", "Vitamin R", or even "Jars". In fact, it's Chevelle's worst single yet; and as the band's singles are most often stand-out tracks on the album that they come from, we have a problem.

Thankfully the ironically-titled "Same Old Trip" saves the day with a catchy chorus, memorable guitar riff and verse structure, and these lovely (new) harmonizing vocals.

Then it all quaintly goes to hell as the rest of Hats Off to the Bull plays on, upset after upset from there. "Pinata" has the makings to truly be awesome with its face-to-the-floor (haha), driving riff, and then the chorus suddenly crashes the momentum with an eerie sense of familiarity. Flip back to Sci-fi Crimes' "Roswell Spell", if you will, cut the tempo of the prior in half, and sadly you have its twin. "Envy" spends half of its time saying nothing, and once things heat up - err, the track ends. That's it. Cool. "Ruse", "Arise", "Revenge", and "Clones" (though the last one is almost pretty sweet with its aggressive bite) fall into the hated category of just being Chevelle songs: they do nothing besides being Chevelle songs. You know the sound, and that's it.

"Prima Donna" is Hats Off to the Bull's acoustic piece, and it joins with last album's "Highland's Apparition" as showing Chevelle kicking ass in a slow, un-rocking territory. Background harmonizing vocals compliment Pete Loeffler's lead vocals here with something Middle Eastern flowing throughout the undercurrent of the track. Though a risky choice, Epic might do well to choose this as the ballad-single to be released in the coming months once "Face to the Floor" gets the hell off the radio. And the sooner the better.

To be honest, lead singer Pete Loeffler needs to release an acoustic, solo album; it would be massive. And it would also give Chevelle a chance to step back and get on track with being their usual consistent selves. What, they aren't themselves on Hats Off to the Bull? Not exactly: this sounds like Chevelle being Chevelle, too much so, actually. But the band have lost their initial mainstream anomaly-ness, if you follow me. They haven't pushed forward here in any way for the first time since 2002. All the songs, mind like two or so, do nothing interesting or memorable. So the question must be asked: Why did Chevelle even bother releasing this album?



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user ratings (653)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Bwgrotha1s (4)
    The new tricks this old dog learned in 2009 haven't been forgotten.....

    fromtheinside (1.5)
    Chevelle making music. So cool...

    Tim Dodderidge (2.5)
    Chevelle is past their prime....

    whitecastle142 (3.5)
    Though the band's self-proclaimed return to their roots supplies some solid tracks, it see...

  • Thomas Harrison (3.5)
    Chevelle is back and ready to rock with another solid release, but don't expect anything m...

    Pistol Pete (4)
    In Chevelle we trust....

    StlPaulL (3.5)
    I hope this "radio rock" is exactly that, perhaps I'll have a reason to turn on my radio....

    Eli EMERITUS (3)
    "Hats Off to the Bull" succeeds in most respects, but is indicative of a band that is slow...

  • Alex Carlson (4)
    Chevelle's superb return to their roots abandons goofy lyrics and experimental composition...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


20857 Comments


One tip: Try not to slag off other bands (especially in the intro), as it tends to put readers off-side from the get-go.

Otherwise, this is a solid review.

Might give this album a quick listen in the next couple of days.

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


I agree, and thank you. However in that instance I wasn't trying to put those bands down, at least intentionally. They were bands that caused much controvercy in trying to adapt to mainstream changes in order to remain relevant.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

lol

knew this was coming

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

pos'd tho... you write the best wet blanket reviews around

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


Hehe, taking into account my work on The Word Alive or my subject-verb agreement on Disturbed, I would disagree, but thanks.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


28705 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

haha i remember, although i wouldn't call disturbed a wet blanket situation on sputnik

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


8371 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Decent review, although I will say this: your style when writing negative reviews is still the same as it was under Observer (making that comparison just because you said you hated some of the stuff you wrote under that moniker) and tbh, that overly provocative, know-it-all tone gets tiring (at least to me) after having read many of your reviews. Some of your wording (those little tidbits like "That's it. Cool." or "Uh, no.") comes across as very smartass-y, if that makes sense to you.

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


It does, Magnus. Thank you. Hehe, nailed me.

Wolfhorde
December 3rd 2011


13672 Comments


"Worst band I ever heard.

Red and Skillet >>>>>>>> Chevelle > Tool
"
Like they wouldn't suck either.

fr33convict
December 3rd 2011


11697 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Chevelle > Tool"

You said it not me.

Auschwitz
December 3rd 2011


1285 Comments


tool is easily better than any of those bands and i dont even like them. you dumb.

Lumyth
December 3rd 2011


54 Comments


are there any songs as good as the red?

PistolPete
December 3rd 2011


3631 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This reviewer's name made me think it was one of Observer's alts, one of the only staff members that would willingly review a mainstream hard rock album still lol And Skillet >>> CheVelle?? Seriously??? Skillet wishes they were CheVelle.

Digging: O'Brother - Garden Window

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


Irony.

Lumyth
December 3rd 2011


54 Comments


what the fuck is a troll? the movie?

Xenophanes
Emeritus
December 3rd 2011


10615 Comments


solid review, Jared, and a pretty fun read overall. I'll agree that you kind of sound likea smartass in parts, but it seems like that's what you were going for.


where you been man? : (

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

Relinquished
December 3rd 2011


25311 Comments


what a nice job lazily describing the songs

Face to the Floor is a lot better than Jars, even with that repetitive riff.

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


Lazy descriptions fit lazy-sounding songs.

And no.

Emim
December 3rd 2011


26649 Comments


Completely ignoring that I love the band and think this is still a very solid album...pretty terrible review. You don't really (as rel said) describe the songs very well and it's a chore to read.

Axel
December 3rd 2011


189 Comments


Your honesty is appreciated, man. Thanks.



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