/ 7 November 2006

Papa don’t rap

Papa Roach’s new album kicks off with the fast and furious thrash-rock energy of M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement), on which singer Jacoby Shaddix (previously known as Cody Dick) proclaims loudly that he’s ‘ready to die for rock’n’roll”. This sets the tone for the rest of lovehatetragedy (Universal), the band’s energetic new release that might not quite be what fans expected.

Don’t wait for the rap-rock assault that Papa Roach launched on 2000’s bestselling Infest. The boys have moved solidly into rock territory, with Shaddix singing basically the whole time over a backdrop of raunchy and relentless metal guitar riffs.

On tracks such as Time and Time Again and Born with Nothing, Die with Everything it’s pure hard rock, complete with angst — ‘now the pain takes control” and ‘my selfish ways are out of control” — and Walking Thru Barbed Wire and She Loves Me Not are ballads-gone-hardcore that work remarkably well.

Singular Indestructible Droid is head-banging bliss, and there is even a nod to classic rock with the inclusion of a bonus-track cover of The Pixies’ Gouge Away.

While not all the tracks manage to stand out in the sonic mass of riffs and drums, it’s a well-constructed collection of serious rock with enough hooks to keep one coming back for more.

Mike Oldfield: Tres Lunas (Gallo)

Oldfield cashes in on the rave generation’s need to chill with a rather beautiful and haunting set of laidback beats, sometimes with a jazzy edge, sometimes a bit like Enigma, sometimes self-referential (a bit of Tubular Bells in Viper). It also comes with a cool 3D-visuals game. — Riaan Wolmarans

Van Morrison: Down the Road (Universal)

Van Morrison seems able to emit tuneful, soulful, well-arranged music almost at will. That doesn’t mean it’s always very inspired. His last few albums have sounded as though they were composed and sung without Morrison’s attention being fully engaged. His new CD is a great improvement on those: it may not be a classic like Astral Weeks, but he sounds distinctly engaged and it lopes enjoyably along in a relaxed, bluesy way. He does a mock-annoyed growl through Talk Is Cheap (it’s the most good-natured of his special strain of complaining songs), but for the rest he appears to be having fun. Mostly he follows the Zen advice of his own last great album, Enlightenment, and ‘keep[s] on chopping wood”, which I think for him means keeping those songs rolling out. Long may he chop. — Shaun de Waal

Various: The Family Values Tour 2001 (Gallo)

Don’t expect to find traditional family values here with Stone Temple Pilots, Staind, Linkin Park, Deadsy and

Static-X letting rip on stage during this tour, an event that helped Linkin Park and Staind rise to their current state of rock fame. Despite the line-up, many of the tracks don’t really leave a lasting impression, but it’s still fun to listen to and wish you were there. — Riaan Wolmarans