BREAK THE SPELL
I'm sure I'll get crucified for even reviewing this new release by Daughtry, but fuck it! I like this guy's tunes. In short, Daughtry is the only American Idol rocker to make it without the show's help after he was cast off the show. He's also the only one that's had success outside of the pop world that American Idol caters to. Musically, Daughtry has been solid, and has been good enough that a good number of bands have been willing to record with him without worrying that the AI stigma would infect them. Finally, let's face it. In today's world where there's almost no good hard rock being released, Daughtry is kind of like Nickelback without all the suck tunes.
Being in my mid-40s, seeing and hearing the way Daughtry's career has gone reminds me in large part of Bon Jovi in the mid '80s. Bon Jovi had two albums of really strong songs before putting it all together with SLIPPERY WHEN WET. Daughtry has followed that path. His previous efforts have been solid, but lacked that bit of swagger needed to break out. BREAK THE SPELL has definitely captured that. The songs on this release have a bit more edge to them, which is good for this radio-hit producing act. Listening to songs like "Outta My Head", it's clear that the band went for a bit more attitude-ladened rock this time out. Chris Daughtry seems to be putting a bit more emotion into his singing, which takes him outside of that Aaron Lewis wannabe sound he's cultivated and brings new identity to him as a vocalist.
Being fair though, BREAK THE SPELL is the first effort Daughtry has done that truly feels like a band and not "Chris Daughtry and some guys backing him up". Guitarist Josh Steely is a very underrated rock guitarist who plays some very tasteful riffs here. The rhythm section of Josh Paul and Robin Diaz are solid stabilizers of the songs, and Daughtry himself is a solid frontman and rhythm guitar player.
Ultimately though, what has separated Daughtry from the rest of the American Idol washouts and, for the most part, the rest of the hard rock community has been their ability to write strong, yet radio-friendly songs. There's no shortage of that here. "Start Of Something Good" is as good as anything that's been a hit at rock radio in the past five years, which is pretty much proven by it's immediate sales numbers once it was released as the single. "We're Not Gonna Fall" is an emotional mid-tempo rocker that seems destined for radio success as well..
PITRIFF RATING - 91/100 - All you hardcore metalheads have your middle finger pointed at me I'm sure, but so be it. Daughtry is a solid band, and BREAK THE SPELL is by far the best effort they've released to date. Full of radio rockers without sacrificing their musical integrity to get popular, Daughtry are the lone rock band in the '10s that get it. BREAK THE SPELL proves that out.