Sound — 7
It takes a lot of ambition to get a band to take off into a professional endeavor, but it takes even more ambition to get it back in the air after an untimely grounding. Buckcherry formed in the latter end of the '90s, and after garnering a solid local following, their self-titled debut album would make for a good first impression on a commercial-sized spectacle. However, their momentum would take a tumble when their follow-up album, "Time Bomb," would suffer the "sophomore slump," and in the midst of losing band members and trying to write a third album, Buckcherry would come to a stop when they announced they were going on hiatus in 2002. After a few years of other music projects, members Keith Nelson and Josh Todd would start Buckcherry back up, and this second coming would end up being the best choice they could've made. Releasing their third album, "15," a year after reforming, Buckcherry's popularity would shoot into the stratosphere with their massive singles "Crazy B-tch" and "Sorry," and from then on, Buckcherry would be among the names in the top echelon of the contemporary hard rock scene. Though the indie/hipster rock takeover has eclipsed said hard rock scene within the past few years, Buckcherry has kept going, and after recently establishing their own imprint, entitled F-Bomb Records, the band is christening the label with their appropriately inappropriate EP, entitled "F--k."
Though the concept of "F--k" primarily lies in the lyrical aspect of the EP, the music side complements the caustic language by bearing a raucous, devil-may-care demeanor. With gruff guitar riffs, interesting bass-lines, and admirable guitar solos in "Somebody F--ked With Me," "Motherf--ker" and "I Don't Give a F--k," the EP ends up rocking harder than Buckcherry's previous album, "Confessions"; even the soft-starting "It's a F--king Disaster" makes a Jekyll-to-Hyde transformation into a hard rock thrasher. Buckcherry's influences in their songwriting this time around are pretty simple to spot, for better or for worse. Their cover of Icona Pop's single, "I Love It (I Don't Care)," which Buckcherry titled as "Say F--k It," is a pretty standard hard rock reconfiguration of the pop tune, but the lead guitar melody in the chorus strikes a similarity to AC/DC's monumental riff in "Thunderstruck." The final song, "Fist F--k," which takes on a hard rock/punk fusion, is comparable to Soundgarden's "Ty Cobb," which was known as one of Soundgarden's most profane songs they had written because of all of the f-bombs, so maybe the parallel between those songs isn't just a coincidence. These may come off as unsatisfactory to those that have little tolerance for inspiration emulation, but in the half-full glass, they help keep "F--k" from sounding like the same thing six times around.
Lyrics — 5
Buckcherry's concept with "F--k" is that each song on the album revolves around the word "f--k" - whether they happened to write these before drumming up the concept to wrap it all together or vice versa is a chicken-and-egg scenario you can presume for yourself. Clearly eliminating itself for radio airplay and just about any TV usage opportunities, the songs on "F--k" egregiously commit to their brazen profanity- from the stark "f--k everything" mentality in "Somebody F--ked With Me" and the confrontational "Motherf--ker" to the scathing description of a relationship in "It's a F--king Disaster" - but frankly, this concept holds no bold poignancy today. "F--k" channels the ethos of old heavy metal and hip-hop artists that would arm their music with profanity as a staunch stance against the government's censorship initiatives in the 20th century (frontman Josh Todd had even mentioned the 1983 film "Scarface" and its excessive use of the f-word as an influence to "F--k"); but in the year 2014, where you can run into any and all swear words in every corner of the internet, the point that "F--k" makes is essentially obsolete.
Overall Impression — 7
On the surface, "F--k" may seem like a shark-jumping attempt to be a release based on shock value, or a shallow piece of churned-out content to quickly follow "Confessions," but really, it deserves more than presumptions. While it's not redefining Buckcherry or hard rock, "F--k" is a solid, appropriately-sized EP. With six tracks, it rocks out in numerous ways rather than being a one-trick pony, and the profane shtick doesn't overstay its welcome. Aside from the obvious, gimmicky reason why Buckcherry made "F--k" the inaugural release on F-Bomb Records, the EP does in fact showcase why Buckcherry is a tried-and-true name in the hard rock scene, which is the ideal first record to define the band's new imprint.