This won’t sound out of place on MTV…
Ladies and Gentlemen, Allan Jones is ready to review the new album released through Rum Bum Records on 10 June 2016
Apparently now on their ninth studio album, Saliva have been around since 1996, although the first thing most people will have heard was 2001 single ‘Click Click Boom’. Following this up with ‘Always’ and later on having ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ used as the official Wrestlemania 23 theme song, Saliva were very much at the top end of their game. Since that point, however, a succession of lineup changes have seen the band drop off the radar somewhat, and when the original lead singer Josey Scott left to pursue a solo Christian music career he was replaced with Bobby Amaru, who also produced their new album. With both founder member and guitarist Chris D’Abaldo and his replacement Jonathan Montoya both leaving, and original bassist Dave Novotny replaced by Brad Stewart, the band is now a four-piece (with founder Wayne Swinny on lead guitar and Paul Crosby on drums).
So, with all of this upheaval, you’d imagine that there’s been a change in sound. Unfortunately, some of the crunch and aggression that made Saliva so much fun has been lost in the shuffle. It may be the thinner sound resulting from the lack of a second guitarist, the different vocal style (Bobby’s good, but often substitutes a light overdrive for actual power in his delivery), or it could be the stylistic changes that have softened up the overall feel of the album, but it’s nowhere near as satisfyingly heavy as their earlier albums.
The best track on the album is the Michael Jackson cover. ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ has a solid musicality and drive that really works here, and it sounds great. Aside from that track, though, nothing else particularly stands out. It’s all become a bit generic sounding – and with a certain leaning toward more of a ‘power ballad’ approach to many of the tracks, there’s not enough grunt and drive behind it to really get you going.
The best of the rest is either the opener ‘Trust’ or ‘Bitch Like You’ because these two actually have some balls to them. Everything else is either a generic soft ballad or derivative nu-metal entirely lacking in the swagger that Saliva used to inject into every track. Particularly guilty of this lack of originality is the rap-rock effort of ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ which just sounds like a half-arsed clone of earlier Saliva tracks that were popular melded with something that you’ve heard from a thousand other bands. Sure, it won’t sound out of place on MTV, and it’s not completely terrible. But this is Saliva. I expect better than this.
5 out of 10
- Tragic Kind Of Love
- Bitch Like You
- Unshatter Me
- Broken Wings
- Break Down
- Go Big or Go Home
- The Loneliest Know
- Refuse To Lose
- They Don’t Care About Us
- Hand In Hand