Release Date: Jul 3, 2007
Record label: RCA
The good news: Libertad, Velvet Revolver’s second CD is so chock-full of the tight ‘n’ crunchy pedigreed hard rock that’s in short supply these days, it feels both comfortingly familiar and vaguely exotic. And, frankly, the closest thing to bad news is that the cover of Electric Light Orchestra’s ”Can’t Get It Out of My Head” isn’t anywhere near as good as VR’s freshly minted originals. Our advice? Stop pining for a new Guns N’ Roses release, break out your air guitars, and bask in the glory of Libertad.DOWNLOAD THIS: Just Sixteen .
Of course, indulgence is the very reason the band exists: it's what made them stars, and without GNR or STP around, all the guys in this band need some outlet for their energies (which may only be partially musical). And in that regard, Velvet Revolver fulfill a need for the bandmembers, but also for an audience that is craving rock & roll that is proudly about good times -- an audience that is not insubstantial in 2007, but is poorly served. Libertad won't necessarily provide that audience with lasting sustenance, but it is a quick enough fix of old-fashioned rock & roll hedonism that does do its job reasonably well, as it has the riffs and melodies to please, even if they're not quite pulled together as full-fledged songs.
Review Summary: A handful of jukebox-friendly hard rock tracks is almost as good an outcome as could be expected from this group of aging rockers. Listening to Velvet Revolver’s new album Libertad, it’s more apparent than ever that, as a singer, Scott Weiland sounds infinitely more comfortable atop his current group’s compact, dynamic hard rock arrangements than he ever did with his one-time cohorts in Stone Temple Pilots. While the DeLeo brothers continue to make a hell of a racket with Filter’s Richard Patrick in Army Of Anyone, Weiland often appeared lost in the expanse between the brothers’ spacious, Sabbath-inspired riffs; the archetypal singer of instinct, it often felt with STP as if Scott had too much time to think.
Velvet Revolver takes after its mother. Three-fifths Guns N' Roses ought to make it ornery, but ex-Stone Temple Pilot Scott Weiland's vocals mulch into the middle of the mix, more rhythm than lead, the band's musical bed a grungy mire rather than metallic hellion. Libertad flips the end-run finish of the group's 2004 debut, Contraband, front-loaded and overall smoother, tighter, louder thanks to veteran producer Brendan O'Brien.