Thursday, November 17, 2011

CD Review: Chickenfoot "Chickenfoot III"

CD Review: Chickenfoot "Chickenfoot III" 
eOne Music
All Access Review: B+

Now we know why Sammy Hagar can't drive 55. It's because he's got some hot little number waiting somewhere to give him the time of his life, and Hagar is hours away from a steamy rendezvous. With Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy blasting from the stereo, Hagar's going to drive all night at dangerous speeds to get there, state troopers be damned.

That's the gist of "Big Foot," the first single off the head-scratchingly titled III, the second LP from Chickenfoot, a much-ballyhooed supergroup of Hagar, guitar god Joe Satriani, ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith. Another in the long line of car songs that have made Hagar the lead-footed hero of scofflaw drivers everywhere, it may be the best of the bunch. Rooted in Satriani's thick, meaty guitar grooves, "Big Foot" stomps and beats its chest like a testosterone-crazed Tarzan eyeing up a naked Jane.

A manly expression of heated desire and need for speed, "Big Foot" paces a strong set of heavy, skull-thumping rockers and occasional surprises — see the Nashville-flavored country stylings of "Different Devil" and the spoken-word, "all hell's breaking loose" fury of "Three and a Half Letters," which bemoans the dilapidated state of the U.S. economy. Pushed to the fore are the signature vocal harmonies of Hagar and Anthony — more muted in Van Halen — while bedrock riffs and crunching rhythms churn underneath such infectious brawlers as "Up Next" and "Lighten Up."

Tender is the soft tear-jerker "Come Closer" and Hager dips down into the lower registers in the smoky R&B-tinged winner "Dubai Blues," but make no mistake, Chickenfoot is throwing big, chunky right hooks of '70s-inspired hard rock on III. Your move, Van Halen ... and David Lee Roth.

-Peter Lindblad

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