Review Summary: You can't erase this deep inside of me
Believe it or not, there was once a time where in my humble opinion, Buckcherry
was actually not terrible. Granted, they were never a truly innovative band or even great
, but Josh Todd once had vocals that didn't sound like redneck Austin Winkler following a month-long game of beer pong, and behind him stood a solid backing band that perhaps, at the very least, pretended
to give a damn about whatever the hell they were playing; and with those ingredients it was more or less mindlessly entertaining party music. That brings us to their fourth full-length, Black Butterfly
; the last album they put out before the wheels started falling off with All Night Long
. While it doesn't touch 15
, it manages to be a serviceable, ahem, "post-grunge" release on it's own merits, if that just so happens to be what you are seeking.
It appears that collaborating with a ton of scene bands in between the four year gap between 15
and Black Butterfly
made Todd a bit more emo, as opener "Rescue Me" sees him ask "Won't you come and rescue me? Separate myself from me"; Todd is arguably still at his vocal peak on this album, and all the while he's being backed by excellent guitar work from consistent deliverer of awesome Keith Nelson. It's cheesy, but it's also weirdly charming at the same time. Unfortunately, Buckcherry lapse back into their stupid "lyrically about drunken sex habits" on the following track "Tired Of You"; a trend that continues with bluntly-named lead single "Too Drunk..." (which is literally about getting too drunk for sex), which are the biggest weak points of the album. Fortunately, things manage to pick back up with an excellent ballad in the form of "Dreams", which is nicely reminiscent of 1960's rock and roll. The other musicians, fortunately, aren't slacking even when the album hits rock bottom: aside from Nelson, fellow guitarist Stevie Dacanay provides some nice compliments to his bandmate, while bassist Jimmy Ashhurst provides a surprisingly solid (and audible!) backbone to the guitars. The weak point of the instrumental bunch would be drummer Xavier Muriel, who is merely competent
: he does absolutely nothing to stand out, but he isn't terrible either. Another strong point of the album is the consistency: when the band rerails things on "Dreams" and transitions into 80's throwback on "Talk To Me", it largely becomes a fun little throwback to the likes of Guns 'n' Roses. Songs like "A Child Called 'It'" and "Imminent Bail Out" provide incredibly catchy riffs and choruses that have radio airplay written all over them, while "Don't Go Away" and "Rose" showcase that Todd has the ability to write a decent ballad if he's actually assed to do so, something that has been horrifically lost in recent times, especially with the departure of everyone involved in this album bar Todd and Dacanay.
Lyrical content has never
been this band's strong suit: aside from "Too Drunk...", the worst offenders in the lyrical department have to be the forgettable "All of Me", which includes such magic like "When you're gone, I am lost / I wanna be forgiven, but I am not / And if I hurt your feelings, I will stop / So please, don't turn away from me / And have a little faith now"; unlike tracks such as "Rescue Me", it isn't even humorously cheesy; it's the bad kind of cheesy. Rounding out the trifecta of rock bottom is closing track "Cream", which is just as bad as "Too Drunk..."; the chorus literally being "Cream on me / You will always be / My deepest love" should quite literally tell you everything. And finally, being released during the peak of the loudness wars, production isn't in Black Butterfly
's list of strengths either; while the presence of audible bass is something I will 100% commend the band for, the whole album is still extremely compressed and devoid of any dynamics whatsoever. At the end of the day though, if you take out the true stinkers like "Too Drunk..." and "Cream", you've got yourself a pretty catchy radio rock album with Black Butterfly
. It's nothing thought-provoking or intelligent; it's just dumb, catchy fun that nails it more than their even more wasted peers ever did.