Saturday, 26 November 2011

Review: Daughtry - Break the Spell

 Daughtry seem like a band that would be pretty easy to write off by most rock fans. Formed in 2006 by frontman Chris Daughtry, who rose to popularity that year as a finalist on season five of American Idol, the group have succeeded in joining the overflowing ranks of radio-friendly hard rock bands who are big on power-chords and not so big on creativity or originality. That, plus your credibility as a rock act really must be questioned if one of your biggest singles can be successfully covered and put to number two in the UK charts by generic boy-band Westlife. But let's not allow ourselves to dwell on the past and try and spread more light on the groups third release Break the Spell.

 Personally I wouldn't dismiss a band because their music is crafted for radio. A lot of radio rock can be quite cool, plus with their heavy riffs and occasional appetite for adrenaline, Daughtry represent the cooler side of radio rock which on UK radio where mainstream indie rock tends to dominate is fairly rare to come across. Opener Renegade is pretty effective in throwing listeners into this atmosphere of adrenaline and excitement as Brian Craddock's riffs emerge with an ferocious attitude and a speedy pace. If there's any time to headbang to something on the radio it would be during this song.
 Elsewhere the album uses this similar type of hard rock in a more uplifting and feel-good manner, like in the life affirming Louder Than Ever and the charming Outta My Head, which presents listeners with what is essentially danceable grunge. Similar to the kind of thing you might hear from Maroon 5 or OneRepublic. Only enjoyable. To contrast from that, the album features many moments that provide a more emotional impact like the acoustic led ballad Gone Too Soon or the tragic Losing My Mind.
 The album doesn't come without it's weaknesses, which happen to appear quite frequently. Many songs appear thin on substance and ability to hold a grip on listeners, like the dull and watery Start of Something Good which sounds as weak as it's title. As well as that Crazy and We're Not Gonna Fall are guaranteed to take listeners hurtling down the path of  the generic and formulaic.
 So if you're reading this in the USA, stuff from this album will be pretty easy to check out. Just flick over to your local rock music radio. They'll be bound to have some stuff on offer. Back across the pond, the main choice is to find and listen to the album in full. I probably wouldn't recommend it though. Break the Spell is very much a hit and miss album.

 Daughtry's Break the Spell is out now via RCA Records.

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