2006’s American Idol was a good’un for Yank rocker Chris Daughtry. Belting renditions of Fuel’s Hemorrhage (In My Hands) and Live’s Mystery saw the Roanoke Rapids native rocking his shaven-headed howl-like-a-mutha’ way to the series final, only to be the victim of a surprise – and controversial – elimination at the last hurdle.
Alas, those lovely chaps at RCA picked up the pieces, gave Daughtry time to find a band, write some songs, and release this, the bands self-titled debut.
It’s impossibly hard to deny Daughtry’s appeal – a typical US homeboy writing stadium-sized ballads that’d barely be contained within Wembley’s massive confines – there’s a scope for this kind of stuff, and that wily ol’ dog knows it. But it’s one thing knowing what you’ve got to do, and actually doing it – and that’s where Daughtry stands apart from plod-rockers like Nickelback and Creed, in that these boys have the tunes to back up the intent.
The quite-loud-quite-loud dynamic running through Daughtry’s 12 tracks begins to wear thin by the albums final call, but until then it’s a wholly enjoyable effort, with Daughtry sticking to what he knows in the shape of massive radio ballads Home, Feels Like Tonight and Gone – three songs that see the band wear their influences well and truly on their sleeves, busting out short, sharp bursts of AOR rock goodness.
Cynics will point toward the band aping a tired, over-exposed genre, but for the most part Daughtry do their best to put life back in the old dog, with the metal-lite 1-2 punch of What I Want and There And Back Again showcasing a potentially intriguing new direction for the band, whilst latest single It’s Not Over comes across as perhaps the most clich�d of the discs efforts – a second-chancer tale of a relationship gone bad told against grandiose guitar licks and Daughtry’s soothing vocals.
It’s an album that travels much the same road throughout, with Daughtry’s sole lyricism lent to broken home tales like All These Lives and Used To, whilst the tinkling piano intro backing the only non-Daughtry composition, the fantastically catchy What About Now sees the band in fine fettle, proving that MOR tunes about the same ol’ same ol’ really aren’t a dying breed in this world of guy-liner and boys wearing girls jeans.
Chris Daughtry may not have won American Idol, but the truth of it all is that he’s probably attained more credibility as an artist by not taking the reality route with his first record. As a vocalist he’s one of the strongest in the modern rock game, and with the band fully aware as to what they can and can’t do well, the future could well be very bright for the former service worker and his gruffed up mob. So, let the rawk commence!