For Fans Of
Before we start, let me open up by saying that I like Steel Panther. I really, really like Steel Panther. Actually, scratch that. I really like glam metal in general, so Steel Panther are always welcome to penetrate me- I mean my ears! But their latest offering, ‘Lower The Bar‘, can do whatever it wants to me, as the band’s fourth album combines the best parts from prior discography and these four naughty boys have produced an album that you could definitely show your mother. Well, that’s if she’s into their lyrical topics, that is. (If she is, you either have the best or the worst mother in the whole world – depends on how you look at it.)
‘Lower The Bar‘ kicks off with ‘Goin’ In The Back Door‘, with it’s punchy “UH!” and a slick little guitar solo from axe-wielder, Satchel, giving you a good insight into what to expect musically for the next 40 minutes; a very polished rock ’n’ roll album! With the impressive first 15 seconds done, you are then given your first taste of what you really listen to Steel Panther for – the lyrics. For instance, “Front doors locked, locked up tight. Trying to get in with all my might. Going in the back door!”. Now, I do wonder what that really means? Has vocalist Michael Starr left his keys inside his house and needs to get into his place via the back door ASAP? Probably not; this is just a pro-anal anthem, when you break it down!
Next up we’ve got ‘Anything Goes‘ a very solid second track for the album. The guitar riffs and the incredibly catchy vocal melodies all keep you hanging on for more. The album’s lead single ‘Poontang Boomerang‘ (you know, the one with the music video that was premiered on PornHub?) is in the same vein, with the guitar harmonies soaring high in the mix and Satchel’s always massive guitar tone featuring heavily in the chorus. This song has a very early Guns N’ Roses feel to it; high up the neck chords during the verses with great little licks incorporated into the chorus riff. Oh, and speaking of the choruses, lyrical and melodically, this is one of the catchiest songs on the entire album. I mean, I’ve been singing along to ‘Poontang Boomerang‘ since I first heard it a few weeks back!
‘That’s When You Came In‘ sounds like it’ll be a lovely song about the right girl coming into your life when you look at the song title. Well… you’re not wrong in thinking that, but the chorus reading “That’s when you came in and blew me all away” really changes the tone quick-smart. The middle bunch of this album’s track listing see a little more experimentation from the band, with a lot of these tunes sounding nothing like previous Panther tracks. For instance, ‘Now The Fun Starts‘ kicks off with a Tool-like bass line, with lots of chorus and flanger effects added to give Lexxi Foxx’s bass a unique kick, something you would never have heard from this quartet previously.
Now, look, a lot of people I know get turned off by Steel Panther due to the lyrical content and that it’s just beating a dead horse and getting stale and old. I understand that – I get that. I myself didn’t quite grasp Steel Panther’s music to begin with when I first heard ‘Balls Out‘, but I learnt to listen past the sexualised lyrics and focus on the solid musicianship displayed by this band because it’s actually quite impressive. And that’s the same thing here with ‘Lower The Bar‘, as it features the best songwriting and instrumentation of any Steel Panther record to date!
A song like ‘Wasted Too Much Time‘ proves exactly that, with soaring guitar harmonies and leads being prominent throughout the entire song, backed by great grooves, riffs and chord progressions that really reimagine the classic 1980’s glam metal style that these guys base themselves off so heavily. Unlike their previous releases, there are no songs here that sample classic glam tracks, or re-jig the riffs a bit to make it different. No, every original song on this album is fresh and showcases some of the best musicianship you’ll find in modern rock music today.
Delivering the final money shot is the first cover Steel Panther have ever recorded, punching out a fantastic version of ‘She’s Tight‘, originally released by the hugely under-rated Cheap Trick, and it even guest features Robin Zander, the singer of the American rock legends. Although a cover, the Panthers have added their own little spin to this track, adding some extra beef to the guitars and overall tone of the song, but not too much that it takes away from the original, killer tune.
Becuase that’s what this album is overall – killer tunes.
Steel Panther are not for everyone, yes, but I believe that this new album will definitely turn heads and change minds, with the brilliant songwriting that’ll help bring new fans into their ever-growing folds. For ‘Lower The Bar’ is the band’s best album thus far. On album #4, you’ll be treated to an array of tight rock drumming, killer riffs and harmonies, catchy melodies and infectious, sexualised lyrics, face-melting guitar solos, all underpinning a vocal masterclass by Michael Starr; the modern-day David Lee-Roth.
People may think that ‘Lower The Bar’ is just another, typical Steel Panther record, and you know what? It is… just ten times better!
1. GOIN’ IN THE BACK DOOR
2. ANYTHING GOES
3. POONTANG BOOMERANG
4. THAT’S WHEN YOU CAME IN
5. WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACK (OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS)
6. NOW THE FUN STARTS
7. PUSSY AIN’T FREE
8. WASTED TOO MUCH TIME
9. I GOT WHAT YOU WANT
10. WALK OF SHAME
11. SHE’S TIGHT FT. ROBIN ZANDER (CHEAP TRICK COVER)
‘Lower The Bar’ is out March 24th via Kobalt. Read our recent interview with drummer Stix Zadinia right here.