Papa Roach first rose to prominence in the early 2000’s ‘nu-metal explosion’ with smash hit ‘Last Resort’ – a song that’s still played in rock clubs everywhere and, seven albums later Papa Roach are still penning huge, bouncy and fun rock songs, this time introducing electronic elements to the more traditional rock sound that the band have explored on recent albums.
This new (not nu) electronic aspect of Papa Roach’s sound is largely hit and miss. Where the glitter bomb electronics hurl the chorus of ‘Silence Is the Enemy’ into the stratosphere other songs on the album also contain some ill-conceived dubstep moments that don’t particularly add to the song. They’re not prominent aspects of the songs when they’re included but it still feels like a cynical attempt to “keep with the kids.” When used correctly, the electronics employed on ‘The Connection’ add a fun, poppy bounce when they’re used.
With or without the electronics however, ‘The Connection’ still has several absolutely massive songs, ‘Silence Is the Enemy’ may benefit greatly from the euro-pop electronics in its chorus but, at its heart it’s a great rock song propelled forwards all the time by singer Jacoby Shaddix’s relentless enthusiasm. ‘Where Did The Angels Go?’ blasts off with a riffy punch that wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place on a Lamb Of God or Devildriver song whilst ‘Still Swinging’ explodes out of the starting gates like a hyperactive race horse.
The main issue, with ‘The Connection’ is one that has occurred time and time again across Papa Roach’s career. The album loses your interest in songs other than the ‘single’ tracks like ‘Still Swinging’ or ‘Silence Is the Enemy.’ This problem is farther exacerbated on ‘The Connection’ by all of the albums best songs being right at the beginning so, although the album might kick off with an almighty bang you’ll have lost interest long before the last song – ‘As Far As I Remember.’
The preponderance of filler doesn’t make ‘The Connection’ a bad album – this is Papa Roach after all and when this album really hits, it hits hard, its more the tracklisting that lets down ‘The Connection’ than anything that’s wrong with its song-writing, since all the best songs are crammed into the first four tracks making the rest of the album seem weak in comparison. Perhaps if the best songs had been interspersed among the rest of the album then ‘The Connection’ would not struggle so much to hold your attention after the first few songs – the rest of the album isn’t bad and it’s not all filler, it’s just that little of the rest of the album is as good as the first few songs.