Chickenfoot - III
So, Chickenfoot, a genuine supergroup featuring Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, RHCP’s Chad Smith and the guitar histrionics of Joe Satriani, are back with album number two III. Confused? Well, it appears that ebullient frontman Sammy Hagar finds the whole ‘difficult second album’ concept so horrible that the band have dispensed with it completely and moved straight to album number three. They’ve also canned the global hypercolour style heat sensitive cover art for this release and are operating, literally, in your face with a lavish 3D package which comes complete with a flimsy set of 3D goggles and Top-Trump style band member factsheets. It’s a textbook example of medium and message working in perfect harmony, for this is an album which eschews subtlety and exterminates whimsicality.
Comparisons with Van Halen are inevitable, but the feel good stadium sized choruses of ‘Alright Alright’ and ‘Different Devil’ would stand toe to toe with the career best work of any of these illustrious band mates. As with the first Chickenfoot album, Satriani shows an incredible degree of restraint which rations his genius into an electrifying narrative rather than his trademark impenetrable solo monologues. Listen to the shards of guitar ripping through ‘Lighten Up’ and you could be listening to Electric-era Billy Duffy, he’s that laid back in Hagar’s company.
The only bum note, no pun intended, comes with ‘Three and a Half Letters’ which finds Hagar narrating from helpless letters received from people in dire financial trouble. It may be well intentioned but Hagar’s uncompromising and eviscerating screams of ‘I need a job’ are jarring and sit uneasily on an otherwise party focused album. Minor gripes aside, the classic rock renaissance continues.