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Velvet Revolver with the intensity turned down,
This review is from: Libertad (Audio CD)
Scott Weiland's post-Purple-era recordings seem to inevitably mean his drug-weakened, slinky voice slithering (pun intended) around the mix, to usually good effect. However, in Libertad, the suitability of Scott Weiland in the heavy, 70's influenced section that is Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and Dave Kushner is sometimes called into question. In direct contrast to their previous effort Contraband, Velvet Revolver's sound has seemed become tamer. Gone are the huge riff-driven songs like Dirty Little Thing and Slither, replaced by a much heavier emphasis on the vocal melodies. In fact, you would be hard pressed to remember the riffs on Libertad. If anything, Libertad sounds like an approximation of what Stone Temple Pilots would sound like if Dean DeLeo was replaced with Slash. 'She Mine', 'American Man' could have been lifted straight from No. 4, and 'Gravedancer' wouldn't sound out of place in Shangri-La-Dee-Da. Even the single 'She Builds Quick Machines' lacks the aggressive punch that 'Sucker Train Blues' threw at you.
Despite all my criticism, in no way am I suggesting that Libertad is a poor album. It has its moments - 'Just Sixteen' is a phenomenally groovy number with lyrics about forbidden/inappropriate love (although Weiland urges that 'We ain't got nothing to hide'), 'Get Out the Door' is an infectious middle-eastern inflected song that you'll find yourself humming for days, 'The Last Fight' is, in the bands' words 'something that they had never done before', a more somber song filled with reflective lyrics penned by Weiland: 'Time heals all of the burned out bridges filled with nothing but misery...' and a signature chiming hook from Slash (think the chorus line of Fall to Pieces). An interesting cover of ELO manifests itself in 'Can't get it out of my head' but it is ultimately forgettable save for two great solos by Slash. The lyrics of this album are much more coherent than the first album, which were a nightmare to sing along to simply because the vast majority of them made no sense at all, but in comparison to their first album Libertad simply seems like the volume, and intensity of Velvet Revolver has been firmly turned down. In my opinion a more pedestrian album than Contraband, Libertad simply lacks the bombastic riff-driven rock that most people expect from the lineup: Libertad is filled with well written songs filled with pretty melodies, but ultimately lacks something special.