ARTIST: PAPA ROACH
TITLE: WHO DO YOU TRUST?
LABEL: ELEVEN SEVEN
WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
It’s fair to say that alternative rock and nu-metal outfit, Papa Roach are legends in the scene. With a back catalogue that sets their live shows alight, it’s a shame that their new album ‘’Who Do You Trust?’ fails to deliver anything new or interesting. A far cry from the gritty rock sound that the band pioneered in the early-2000’s, this latest record continues were 2017’s Crooked Teeth left off with a pop-rock sound that focuses on electronic melodies and a modern rap style that could be easily fit into the Post Malone mould. It’s commendable that the outfit are trying new ideas to stand alongside their contemporaries, but they fall flat leaving a stale, plain and inoffensive taste. ‘Heritage’ bands can be guilty of falling on their back catalogue and not releasing new music, but Papa Roach are still being creative and trying to incorporate new elements to evolve their sound. The high moments (the few that feature on this album) have shades of the rap-rock vibe that can be heard on the new Shvpes album but to a lower quality with less intensity.
The band are continuing from their 2017 effort, Crooked Teeth to try to make waves in the pop and commercial spheres but they’re still stuck in between two worlds: trying to explore squeaky clean production sounds while attempting to include elements that they have built their career around. Jacoby Shaddix rap style is still very much a staple on the record that transitions into big choruses that fail to hit the heights they are aiming for. The song structure is almost identical on every song as if they been cut with a cookie cutter in the shape of a basic square and made from a plain digestive biscuit mix with no creative element.
“Papa Roach are still being creative and trying to incorporate new elements to evolve their sound. “
Generic lyrics that have been re-hashed both from the band’s back catalogue and the wider music scene, single, ‘Renegade Music’, tries to tap into a sound that is meant to inspire rebellious feeling but falls flat on all those sentiments. Even the final moments of the track that has Shaddix screaming ‘Mother f****r’ in an attempt to up the ante but just feels like filler and frankly, out of place and rip off from the iconic ‘Killing In The Name’ by Rage Against The Machine.
The vocal manipulations on ‘Not The Only One’ are straight out of twenty one pilots playbook by lowering the pitch. If you have ever wondered what Papa Roach would sound like if they tried to cover Imagine Dragons then skip to track five, Elevate. And ‘Come Around’ has the rhyming couplets and a melody that would not be out of place on a One Direction track although Shaddix throws some screams to remind you that this Papa Roach and not ‘Pop-a Roach’. New ideas for the band but something that has been around for years in mainstream music.
The most real moment on the album is when the direction is taken to a different place, ‘I Suffer Well’ has the instruments front and centre and a change in tempo from the plodding moody synth-pop that has dominated the record to that point to a raw, punk song. An anti-album song that completely 180s on the sound to hark back to the Infest days and crams it into 60 seconds of energy. A palate cleanser before the mood drops for the final three tracks that are repetitive, lethargic and uninteresting.
Unfortunately, Who Do You Trust? is an ironically named album because you cannot trust Papa Roach to make a good pop album. The likes of Don Broco, twenty one pilots or Joyce Manor have released incredible pop/power pop records in the past year but this brand of photocopied pop-rock falls flat and fails to deliver anything catchy, memorable or interesting. Traditional Nu-metal is dead and has been for a long time, there isn’t an expectation or demand for Papa Roach to release another Getting Away With Murder but an album that can keep people interested and that can fit into the live set is surely the goal? Expanding into the pop world will see them drown in all the dross that converse the radio waves. In an effort in trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one.