Sound — 10
Contraband is the debut album of super-group Velvet Revolver. Their sound is different from the members' older bands (Stone Temple Pilots/Guns N' Roses), so don't expect November Rain and Interstate Love Song. However, it's a great sound all its' own. You'll get the groovy riffery of Slash coupled with the grainy grunge voice of Scott Weiland. This album is mostly hard rock, with small glimmers of ballad-type radio songs. It's a sound that you can really latch onto, since it's an overall "fun" album. It's full of straight rock songs, typical bar stuff and car-singing, shower-singing, basically anywhere. It's catchy, groovy, and one of the few remaining solid rock bands of the decade.
Lyrics — 9
Scott Weiland's work in Velvet Revolver is pretty similar to his Stone Temple Pilots stuff, but it has small differences. You'll hear more of his higher-pitched vocal parts and more upbeat stuff in VR that was in small doses in Stone Temple Pilots, which was one of the big 90's grunge bands. The lyrics go pretty well with the music, it's the whole "badass" package. Weiland can still sing, and his style is still somewhat in tact enough to keep STP fans, but won't really convert people that didn't like STP. It's solid, can get annoying at times, but his voice is solid still, and he can still write some great songs.
Overall Impression — 9
Velvet Revolver's follow-up "Libertad" came out in between the release of Contraband and the writing of this review, so it's hard to really compare. I'd say it's better than Libertad though. I really like "Big Machine", "Slither", and "Fall to Pieces". They actually did a good job of picking the radio/TV singles, and they haven't really gotten "played-out" or boring despite hearing them thousands and thousands of times. I love the kickass sound they have, but like I said some people may be turn off by Weiland's style, and some people might even get bored of it by the end of the album even if they like it. I personally like it a lot, so I whole heartedly recommend this album. It's a great modern rock album, something pretty scarce nowadays.