Album Review: Josh Todd & The Conflict – “Year Of The Tiger”
According to the press release for this album, Josh Todd’s day band Buckcherry are currently on an “indefinite hiatus”. Now if I was going to be cynical, I could say that probably means that they’ll be back with a new album in 2019 but just supposing that really is the truth, it’s probably the right decision. Don’t get me wrong, Buckcherry were a fantastic band in their day, and their first three albums stand up as some of the best of the early 21st century sleaze revival, but each of their final four albums sounded like a step down quality-wise from the last one. With the departure of Keith Nelson, the only remaining original member along with Todd, the frontman has gone off to start up a new band, The Conflict, with latter day ‘cherry guitarist Stevie D. So, a return to form, or just another chapter in the downward quality spiral? Let’s see, shall we…
The opening title track on Year Of The Tiger certainly has a kick to it and actually sounds weirdly like Anthrax… except not as good. This, as you’ll see, will be something of a theme throughout this album. Letting Go, which follows it, sounds like Ozzy fronting Slave To The Grind era Skid Row, and is a little bit better, but still some way short of what Buckcherry could do back in their prime.
The album really hits the skids with Fucked Up and The Conflict though, two clumsy nu-metal aping clusterfucks which sound like they passed their sell-by date in 2001, with the former seeing the band hoping that a load of gratuitous swearing will mask the total lack of a memorable tune. Which, as you’ve probably gathered, it doesn’t. Elsewhere, Rain is turgid funk-rock which sounds like an even more watered down version of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and even the token ballad Good Enough is no For The Movies or Helpless. Which, given that ballads were always generally Buckcherry’s strong suit even on their weaker albums, really does leave you worrying that we’re in quite serious trouble here.
Funnily enough though, they then proceed to almost turn it around with three decent tracks in the middle of side two. Story Of My Life and Push It are solid mid-paced rockers which could certainly have held their own on the band’s mid-period albums if not the early ones, while Erotic City is a weird Prince style funk workout which actually just about works thanks to the sheer cheek of it. But then they promptly piss the momentum right up the wall with the awful Atomic to close things, another dire slice of stale nu-metal rubbish. Sigh.
Outdated, full of hot air and bluster and with a general lack of decent tunes, this is sadly not the return to the glory days for Josh Todd that some continue to hope for. Year Of The Tiger is another below-average effort to be filed alongside Buckcherry's terrible last two albums Confessions and Rock 'n' Roll. And when we say "filed", we mean in the second hand racks of the nearest charity shop. Disappointing.