Papa Roach
Crooked Teeth



by Nat S. USER (18 Reviews)
June 2nd, 2017 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crooked Teeth brings enough new ideas to the table, but lacks a clear focus too much of the time.

The phrase ‘identity crisis’ has been used in reference to Papa Roach quite a bit in recent years, and understandably so. While the California quartet had no problems moving on from nu metal once that scene imploded, their last few records have sounded like a group slightly unsure of what they want to be. From the hair-metal redux of 2009’s Metamorphosis to 2012’s electronica-influenced The Connection, Jacoby Shaddix and his band of merry men seem willing to try anything if it’ll keep them in the spotlight a little longer. However, Papa Roach’s attempts at experimentation never seem to get very far from their typical rock blueprint; it’s almost as if they know what their fans want, and would rather deliver that than try anything too adventurous.

Crooked Teeth, the band’s ninth (!) studio album, is no different in this respect; for the most part, it’s just Papa Roach doing what they usually do, but there are some new ideas added to the mix as well. This time around, however, the sonic departures are concentrated into single-song bursts, rather than trying to subtly change the formula of a Papa Roach album. While this does result in a few interesting tracks, the fact that they’re surrounded by an ocean of standard-fare PR material compromises the flow of things somewhat.

Cynics eyeing Crooked Teeth’s tracklist may have something to say about the inclusion of Skylar Grey and Machine Gun Kelly. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s the tracks on which they feature that turn out to be the album’s highlights. The mid-tempo “Periscope” sees the band sounding far more natural than they usually do; Shaddix proves to be a much more listenable vocalist when he’s not yelling frantically, to the point where he almost outshines Grey. “Sunrise Trailer Park”, far from being a standard 2001 rap-rock cut, sees MGK trading off with Shaddix over a so-laid-back-it-could-be-horizontal beat (and by gosh, is it refreshing to hear a song about something other than Shaddix’s personal problems). That the band had to enlist guest musicians to make these tracks stand out says a lot, but they’re both fairly strong songs in themselves and provide a very welcome diversion from the rest of the album.

With that said, the remainder of Crooked Teeth isn’t entirely bad and even has some moments of relative fun here and there. “Traumatic” attempts to recapture the hard-hitting energy of some of Papa Roach’s earlier records, and even if its rage feels unfocused some of the time, it goes some way to keep the album’s second half interesting. “HELP” may not be anything special in terms of composition or lyricism (“I think I need help, ‘cause I’m drowning in myself”), but it’s enjoyable enough for what it is and, unlike a number of Papa Roach’s past singles, it doesn’t feel like they’re trying too hard. The downfall comes when songs like “Periscope” and “Sunrise Trailer Park” are inserted into what is otherwise quite an aurally one-dimensional album. It’s one thing to try out different styles across an album, but it’s another to make them all feel cohesive alongside each other, and the fact that Crooked Teeth stays so close to Papa Roach’s usual sound overall means that the aforementioned two songs, solid though they may be, don’t feel wholly at home here.

Ultimately, if this reviewer had to describe Crooked Teeth in one word, it would be ‘confusing’. I can’t blame Papa Roach for sticking to their trademark sound when there are millions of fans who swear by it, but I can also understand their desire to branch out, being that they’re at a point in their career where they can afford to. Had the band decided to go down one of those routes at the expense of the other, this album might have turned out a lot stronger. As it is, although some of its tracks may be fairly strong, it seems unclear what Crooked Teeth as a whole hopes to be.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
June 2nd 2017


Album Rating: 2.5

It took forever to write, but it's here now. Hopefully I didn't bitch about the album too much to justify not giving it a lower score...

June 2nd 2017


Album Rating: 3.5

I rarely comment, but that was a great review. A lot of 2.5 reviews end up really slamming a band, but you didn't - though you did criticise well.

June 2nd 2017


is that the lead singer on the album cover

June 3rd 2017


The years haven't been kind to Jacob Shatdicks

June 7th 2017


Cannot look at that album art. Just. Cannot.

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