Puppet Strings



by Killerhit USER (52 Reviews)
March 10th, 2014 | 12 replies

Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beyond a shadow of a doubt, better than any of its predecessors.

Poor, poor Fuel – ye have been judged badly by history. This alt-rock band really, really could have survived and thrived – after all, they made a massive hit single out of “Hemorrhage (In My Hands)” and a pretty decent effort out of “Shimmer” from their first album. The fact of the matter is, Fuel is a band that has at best a cult following comprised of 90’s rock buffs and hardcore alt-rock fans and virtually no reputation good or ill beyond that – their last two albums Natural Selection (2003) and Angels and Devils (2007) were met with tepid reception, though the latter in particular got one hell of an asskicking from befuddled fans – and there was good reason for this disdain, as Angels and Devils was pretty terrible, bereft of the elements that made Fuel great; accessible rock riffs, clean and wistful vocals with enough oomph to catch your attention.

So the question regarding Puppet Strings: have they done a better job, obviously, or is this just another nail in the proverbial coffin? Yeah, actually – it’s better than anything they’ve done in quite a while. It’s a fairly bold album, as proven on the country-esque “Oh, Mama”, a tune that, despite its Southern seasoning, makes for a very creative and experimental track that serves as the perfect bridge between lead single “Soul To Preach To” and “Time For Me To Stop” – two far faster, grunge-y tracks; the latter’s riffs in particular are so dark and deep-set that it resembles something from the likes of Pearl Jam or even Soundgarden. Following that is probably one of the best songs Fuel has ever done, “Wander”, which revels in an atmosphere combining acoustically-driven and subtle electric guitars that flourish alongside Brett Scallions’ voice – in an album full of great vocal performances by the man, “Wander” in particular stands out.

If one were to find fault in the album, it would be in the same places – sometimes the band focuses too much on being emotive that they go a little overboard with it; “Headache” aims for being a wistful track that hits home but simply cannot stand alongside the power of tracks such as “Wander” or keyboard-driven “Cold Summer”. And sometimes, the sheer amount of ballads (over half of the album) make the album feel too manufactured – and that alone prevents Puppet Strings from being their best album.

Still, it’s good – damn good. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Fuel has revitalized their sound and crafted material far better and stronger than anything they have put out in a while, even if it still suffers from largely the same problems; it is a beautiful LP that suffers from monotony, and one that sometimes circles the drains for all of its 41 minutes, making it less consistent than albums such as their justly-beloved Sunburn. For old fans and new fans, however, this does not disappoint in the slightest.

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user ratings (45)
other reviews of this album
AaronBatt (3.5)
Welcome back Brett Scallions, rock has missed you......

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 10th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Listen to it here:


I'd recommend "Wander", "Cold Summer", and "Hey, Mama".

March 10th 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

A few mistakes, but solid review nevertheless. I've always loved these guys.

March 10th 2014


Used to love this band in early high school, might check out

March 10th 2014


leave love bleeding in my haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddds

March 10th 2014



gonna pass on this.. i have their first ghits and that's enough for me. band is nostalgic as fuck for me, but that lead single was pree bad

March 10th 2014


The chorus of Soul to Preach is kind of just pretty much awful.

Never was too huge on these guys, but I have always loved the song Innocent.

March 11th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Soul To Preach To is admittedly faintly bad, but it's one of the only bad points here.

May 27th 2014


Cold Summer is brilliant.

Headache and Wander are also good. I Can See the Sun has so much potential but the chorus ruins it.

The rest is pretty meh.

July 5th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

The fact that Angels & Demons was made is a disgrace to the name of Fuel. YOU DO NOT EVER make a Fuel album without Brett Scallions. EVER.

Toryn you're a good vocalist, but you do not belong with Fuel. This is a real Fuel album, back to basics ala Sunburn. Awesome tracks, standout production, and motherfucking Brett "The Wolf" Scallions on vocals.

July 8th 2021


Album Rating: 3.5

So these guys just released a new song and have a new album coming out in Oct... this time with Carl Bell back, but without Scallions AGAIN and this time some new dude named John Corsale on vocals.

My only question is... can Bell and Scallions just not get along anymore or something? Cause this is getting ridiculous lol, those two haven't been in the band together since Natural Selection

October 22nd 2021


Album Rating: 3.0

Having three records straight with different singers each is frustrating, specially when their first three albums being so consistent members and music wise. The new album isn't half bad. Catchy stuff at least.

October 26th 2021


Are there any other cases of two consecutive albums made by a completely different line-up?

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