PAPA ROACH have been going impressively steadily since their iconic debut “Infest” back in 2000, and while the genre they helped take over the world with, faded to nothing but a cringe-worthy memory to some, they’ve kept evolving and maturing musically, managing to stay relevant all the while still retaining their own sound. Just under two years since their last album “Crooked Teeth” broke into the Top 20 Charts on both sides of the pond, Jacoby & co are back already with album number ten; entitled “Who Do You Trust?”. The more important question is, can WE keep trusting them to put out solid albums? Let’s find out…
The album interestingly opens up with “The Ending” and we’re greeted with a dark, ominous synth driven affair that leads into Jerry Horton’s traditional, crunching riffs. Jacoby enters the fray with some smooth hip-hop inspired lyrical delivery, before the dual approach of vocal harmonies and visceral screams, leads us onto a simplistic yet catchy chorus. It again shows how well Papa Roach are able to blend styles and ideas to create something truly unique to them; a strong start this. Lead singles “Renegade Music” and the title track then take us further into the meat and veg of the album as a whole. The former, again, dark in tone and rich in political overtones, which allows subtle elements of the likes of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE and even BEASTIE BOYS to trickle through.; it’s all empowering and a well-executed, anti-establishmentarian call to arms. The title track, aided by its tongue-in-cheek video refers to the idea of ‘Fake News’ and again, with a guitar heavy, jarring style, speaks to AND for the people against certain people in government.
Speaking of heavier sounds, the brief bombardment of “I Suffer Well” is an interesting yet entertaining slab of hardcore punk…over in less than two minutes, this is a Papa Roach we haven’t felt for a long time and proves they still have it in them to tear it up twenty years in, and it’s quite refreshing. We all know Jacoby is a big softie at heart though and they are more than capable of tugging on the heartstrings of even the most rugged rockers. “Problems” in particular hitting far harder than any goodbye kiss with its level of emotion, self-awareness and brutal honesty…and sadly it’s painfully relatable. Luckily “Feel Like Home” lifts the mood with its soft indie-rock tones and vibrant, optimistic production, despite Jacoby’s trademark, oxymoronic lyrical delivery; contrasting the up-beat style of the song.
Overall, though the album as a whole doesn’t contain ‘hits’ akin to their early years per se, the focus is on the bigger picture, and that picture is of a band who have matured in sound and are comfortable and confident in their ability to deliver a genuinely quality album. Do I trust Papa Roach? Every single time…