Black Butterfly

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Has any party band been less rock & roll fun than Buckcherry? Self-appointed saviors of sleaze, the L.A. scuzz rockers are disciples of the Sunset Strip circa 1987, singing songs of crazy bitches and cocaine, scored to secondhand Aerosmith ripoffs stripped of boogie so they're turned into lead-footed stomps. Rock & roll doesn't need to be complicated -- it's often better if it isn't -- but if it's going to be the soundtrack for a night of binge drinking at strip clubs, it damn well better make wallowing in filth sound irresistible, not drudging. Buckcherry dutifully hit all their marks on their fourth album, Black Butterfly -- the greasy guitar, the snake-dancing vocals, rhythms designed with a Texas lap dance in mind -- so that makes the record no different in form or function than their other LPs, but there's nevertheless a significant downturn in energy, lacking the stoopid hooks of "Lit Up" and "Crazy Bitch," hooks that now more than ever seems accidental. Here, they piss on the Dead Kennedys, swipe power ballads from Mötley Crüe, and pluck Guns N' Roses with absolutely no sense of glee; it's dutiful cardboard cock rock. If the band played with any sense of enthusiasm, this could be tempting toxicity -- music you know is bad for you but you can't resist. But Buckcherry are so far gone on the road of rock & roll indulgence they wind up repeating the same stupid excesses not because they're fun, but because they don't know how to do anything else. Far from being the soundtrack to a raging party, Black Butterfly is the flip side of indulgence: Buckcherry are now the sound of a slow slide into the monotony of addiction.

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