Over the years, Papa Roach have developed a loyal fanbase, and one can’t help but feel a large part of that connection is down to the honesty the band put forth. They’re invested in their music on a personal level – always have been, always will be. Though the band add their name to the long list of those dabbling in electronics fully with their new release ‘The Connection’, the band stay true to their unwillingness to compromise. But does it pay off?
For some, this could take some getting into. Electronics aren’t for everyone, but for those still unsure of the format, be reassured that it’s not as brash as, say, Korn’s ‘Path of Totality’. As someone who enjoys electronic nuances, this was always likely to be enjoyable unless they strayed wildly from their path.
As you listen, you’ll see that where Korn fully indulged their music into the format, Papa Roach use it both sparingly and deliberately. It’s layered throughout their guitar riffs, it eminates the same beats and feelings as the harder elements and, if anything, it merely enhances their sound. There are some tracks that dabble far more than others; ‘Silence Is The Enemy’ is a massive tune, in fact it’s a stand out. They’ve succeeded in progressing without losing themselves, and this track proves that it can aid in making the band sound bigger without hampering their identity. It almost feels rebellious – an electo-tinged Papa Roach shouldn’t sound this good, but – damn – it does.
‘Before I Die’ is a prime instance of utilising the electronics for an emotional dimension. Amidst Jacoby’s heartfelt vocals and the simple power chords beneath it, the electronics add a texture, a sense of vulnerability even. This is not electronics for the sake of something new; they’ve used it to enhance specific elements and ideas, and they’ve done it exceedingly well.
Don’t be dismayed though, ‘The Connection’ still has Papa Roach’s swagger written all over it. There’s the brooding riffs, the unrelenting bounce and the sheer power of their music present throughout. What’s most important about the record, however, is it’s lyrical content. Jacoby has openly spoke about finding therapy in putting his pain into this record, and that translates easily. His vocals seem genuine, from the questioning in ‘Wish You Never Met Me’ to the angst-ridden snarls in various numbers; in specific instances, a scream here or snarl there, you can really pick at something truly raw coming through.
Ultimately, electronic music won’t be for everyone, but Papa Roach will never happily stay within their boundaries. This could be considered a leap of faith but, personally, it’s paid off. They’ve utilised electronics more artfully than others, and used it to enhance an album steeped in poignancy and meaning. ‘The Connection’ is personal, and it’s real. You can’t help but imagine these hitting hard in a live setting, but that’s why people love Papa Roach. They’re straight up, and this album is a bold testament to their honesty, and the dedication to their music.