Believe it or not, but there was a time when Buckcherry actually used to give off some kind of danger. Well, not really ‘danger’; more in the vein of a bit of sleaze being more flavourful than some beige hard rock nothingness. It’s safe to say that that era is well and truly behind them now though, and churning out increasingly forgettable, increasingly tired-sounding albums is much more their forte. There’s nary a glam-metal strut or a hair-metal thrust in sight anymore, as the music has drifted closer to boilerplate throwback fare, and the general enthusiasm for performing seems to have waned exponentially.
And right now, Buckcherry couldn’t seem less bothered. The signs are right there, staring at you square in the face. The name. The artwork. The fact that they’ve stooped to song titles like Good Time and With You, which are lazy even for a band as often in the throes of genericness as they are. Oh, and the music’s rubbish too, naturally.
If Buckcherry had any ideas left before this, they’ve all been thoroughly depleted now. When they aren’t pinching from some shamelessly obvious sources (Feels Like Love rips off about three different Def Leppard songs at once), they’re tied to this edgeless, sexless classic rock gruel which, for a band once supposedly defined by their sex appeal (ha!) is especially counterintuitive. They sound so uninvested, the limits of which are introduced straight away with This And That in a blues-rock shuffle devoid of any sort of spark. At least on Keep On Fighting or One And Only, the concession of a bit more pace acts as something more palatable from Buckcherry, or in any case, more so than low-effort trad-rock photocopying. Especially on Good Time and Let’s Get Wild, the intended debauchery is so far removed from Buckcherry’s flat, uninspired performance, something you’d expect a band ten albums deep to be aware of how to avoid. Or, y’know, care to avoid.
There’s really no dancing around how churned-out Vol. 10 sounds, even by the standards of Buckcherry. In that regard, it’s more or less on the same wavelength as 2021’s Hellbound, its direct predecessor that bore all the hallmarks of a band with no fuel in the tank that this album only serves to drive further into the ground. Vol. 10 probably isn’t worse than Hellbound but it’s on the same level, in that both have so few defining characteristics that such a call is practically impossible to make. If you want to insist upon one…well, there’s a canned feel to the drumming on here sometimes that’s pretty hard to miss. It’s not a good feature but it’s one that leaves an impression, which is more than can be said for literally anything else here. Even when ending with a cover of Summer Of 69, one of the most famous, ubiquitous rock songs of all time, Buckcherry’s karaoke version makes the whole endeavour seem utterly pointless. Even their godawful version of Head Like A Hole elicited some form of reaction; this barely feels like it should exist.
And of course, no discussion about how bad Buckcherry are would be complete without mentioning Josh Todd, a frontman whose inability to sound good or enthused almost directly correlates with the downfall of the band behind him. He’s on full autopilot this time, unable to sell any kind of emotion with a believable conviction, and simply here to squawk his way through another batch of tracks virtually identical to the last. Even when ignoring how much time has increased this distaste for his style of singing, he’s just as drained of past charisma as everyone and everything else involved here. This is about as low-effort as it comes when fronting a hard rock band, where even the ballads Feels Like Love and Pain fail to pick up any kind of emotional resonance to them. Granted, this is Josh Todd we’re talking about, a man so limited in ability that he couldn’t even keep two individual side-projects from sounding like Buckcherry clones; it’s hardly a shock that he’s not exactly giving it his all now.
So is this the signifier that Buckcherry are about done and that we’ll be spared from any more like this? Probably not. They’re a throwback-rock band who still have an audience; how many of those can you think of who haven’t wrung out every penny from what they’re doing? For Buckcherry specifically, all they’ve got left is pure inertia, and they clearly don’t have the integrity anymore to pass up an offer of coasting by and still seeing some monetary success. There’s no way it’s the ‘love of music’ getting them by, because who could actually find enough to love in Vol. 10? It’s derivative without even being fun, unable to mask its creators’ own apathy, and somehow even drags Bryan Adams down with it. That’s really the only thing of note it accomplishes.
For fans of: Hinder, Saving Abel, Puddle Of Mudd
‘Vol. 10’ by Buckcherry is released on 2nd June on Earache Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall