Juliette and the Licks

Four on the Floor

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Apparently, one of the golden rules of rock & roll is that the presence of Dave Grohl on drums makes any band better. It makes a great band transcendent -- see not only Nirvana, of course, but also Queens of the Stone Age -- but it can even make OK bands sound pretty decent, as Juliette and the Licks' second album, Four on the Floor, proves (its very title a seeming allusion to Grohl's cameo). Juliette and the Licks were perfectly fine and perfectly forgettable on their debut, but here they seem to have weight, largely due to the granite foundation Grohl lays down. He gives this momentum and magnitude, to which Juliette adds, well, a whole bunch of songs about rocking. If she sounds passingly like Polly Jean Harvey, she's a PJ who just doesn't care about anything deeper than what happened last night and what might happen tonight. Which is totally rock & roll, of course -- right down to her rants about a "Death of a Whore," complete with a machine-gun burst of profanity on the breakdown -- but it's hard not to shake the feeling that Grohl gives an illusion of substance this aggressively shallow music doesn't quite deserve. That said, he does make Four on the Floor rock -- which is good, since an album about rock & roll should at least rock -- and if listened to as background music at a party, it's a good time, since it never slows down and never lets up, so it's the ideal soundtrack for a night of debauchery.

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