Jimmie's Chicken Shack

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Re.present Review

by Johnny Loftus

Late-'90s alternative sort-of-weres Jimmie's Chicken Shack have returned with a new label, a new lineup, and a new, boldly serious stripe in their loudmouth funk metal. But while Re.present has its moments, the band can't as fluidly rectify its disparate sonic elements. The result is an occasionally rewarding yet ultimately ineffective blend of cocksure and sobering. Chicken Shack main brain Jimmy Haha is joined by Staind soul searcher Aaron Lewis for opener and first single "Fallin' Out." Right away there's trouble, as they valiantly try to stretch a sliver of Alice in Chains' genetic material into five minutes of meaningful bellow. The song's desperation doesn't jibe with the cynical "Quitter," where Haha bickers with a bedmate over an Offspring chord progression. (That band's also a touchstone for the directionless, ska-inflected "Dead Sleep.") "Ghettoverit"'s wordplay is witty, but bitching about "pimped out preludes" and a girlfriend's clueless use of slang can't liven up the song's uninspired rock arrangement. Besides, using that same slang as a songwriting device considerably dilutes Haha's vitriol. It's also a bad fit next to the conventional post-grunge glower of "Happiness" ("We belong to all of this/The devil's hand/The angel's kiss") and "Unshaken," which both return to the Alice model, or at least the dull suggestion of it that's come to dominate active rock radio. Late-album entries "Leech" and "Paper Dolls" do offer some memorably chunky hooks and vestiges of the raucous spirit that permeated Pushing the Salmanilla Envelope. But they aren't enough to save Re.present, which finds the rebuilt Jimmie's Chicken Shack sagging at the center.

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