Track Listing: 1) Avenida Revolucion 2) Soap on a Rope 3) Sexy Little Thing 4) Oh Yeah 5) Runnin’ Out 6) Get it Up 7) Down the Drain 8) My Kinda Girl 9) Learning to Fall 10) Turnin’ Left 11) Future in the Past
Some of the world’s greatest musicians, Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Montrose), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Joe Satriani, join forces for the latest rock supergroup: Chickenfoot. Despite Hagar’s statement “We’re not a supergroup, we like hanging out together and the music is a bonus. We just happen to be in other groups.”, the vast majority of us see them that way, so naturally a lot was expected from their eponymous debut. Perhaps the spotlights were all on Satriani in particular, with this being his first appearance in a proper band rather than a solo artist. How would he fit in, and, how would the egos cope with one another in such a confined space?
Avenida Revolucion begins with a flash of technical randomness from Satriani before dropping into a lengthy mid-paced chug. It’s a wonder why they chose to open with this, a pretty linear, albeit decent track. ‘Crossing the borderline, into the fire’ are the words that ring out, some sort of tension is built up as we anticipate a breakthrough. It comes with the second track, Soap on a Rope, a much funkier, energetic song that perhaps should have been switched with Avenida Revolucion. Musically, it possesses the characteristics of a Rage Against the Machine number – minus the rapping. Satriani pulls off a shredfest during his solo spot that’s not without construction and thought, basically it’s not all: how many notes can I play within the next few bars? The sequence of tracks 2-4 is the peak of the record. Sexy Little Thing and the first single Oh Yeah both excellent and enjoyable bluesy anthems. The riffs contained are simple yet effective. Unsurprisingly, these would become the three singles released.
Runnin’ Out and Get it Up are predictable tunes, plenty of cheesy lines from Hagar keep the mood light and Satriani’s solos are good but a little on the short side. The latter contains similar musical notions to the albums opener with some added Arabian spice. Before the album risks dropping into mediocrity, it is saved by Down the Drain. An instant highlight, the dark, heavy and sludge-like riff brings a welcomed essence of variety. The track clocks in at over six minutes and it would have been nice to have seen more in the way of improvisation from the band. Plenty of space for solo spots goes to waste in the rather linear blues monster. My Kinda Girl takes things back to catchy upbeat rock. Learning to Fall is the eventual ballad, the backing vocals during the chorus really elevate the mood before Satriani enters for a solo. Initial fears were that it would only last a few bars, fortunately it somewhat survives after the bridge, although forced into the background as Hagar continues to sing over the top.
Turnin’ Left contains some great funky riffage that would have best rounded off the album as opposed to Future in the Past. ‘Saving the best ‘till last’ doesn’t refer to the actual track that feels akin once again to the beginning of the record.
If anything should be said about this album it is that it’s energetic, upbeat and overall very enjoyable. Thanks to the production every member can be heard and every member, as expected, puts on a fine performance. It’s clear that the guys are having a good time doing what they’re doing and that rubs off on the listener, so this record will only make you feel good. With near an hour of catchy tunes, it makes a great listen. Some issues with track numbering and the length of solo spots is all I can pick at here, other than that this is very good indeed.
1) Soap on a Rope
2) Down the Drain
3) Oh Yeah
Reviewed by: Daniel Aston, 12/01/2010