Daughtry – ‘Cage To Rattle’ (Album Review)
Five years is a long time in rock ‘n’ roll – and that goes quintuple for former talent show contestants, who are normally expected to vanish into obscurity within twelve months of emerging into the public eye. But then again, Chris Daughtry is a star with proven staying power – and Cage To Rattle is a strong showing for a fifth album by any mainstream pop-rock artist.
At this point, Daughtry the band continue to lean toward the pop end of the spectrum. Anyone hoping for a return to their darker days will be disappointed – although final track White Flag sees them erupt into thunderous, heavily effected rock as Chris Daughtry’s voice cracks with unrestrained passion. Up to that point, Cage To Rattle remains a primarily pop album, bar penultimate track and weak spot Stuff Of Legends (distorted bass, funky clean guitars, sparse rock licks, and a below-par title hook), and the occasional appearance of mostly clean guitars on other tracks.
Chris Daughtry’s vocal has always been this act’s natural focal point, for obvious reasons. In rock settings, this guy is a true great – and he also grabs pop by the relatively blunted horns and bends it to his will. The power involved is undeniable, the production underpinning each track appropriately flawless, and stomping beats also pop up to great effect.
But on listening to the whole album, that one final song blows everything else out of the water, rendering the rest of the album temporarily forgotten. On repeat listens, Cage To Rattle as a whole comes into progressively sharper focus, repetition leading to stronger appreciation – and it does represent pop done extremely well. Still, it’s impossible to shake the memory of that first experience, increasingly ingrained as it is when you listen through over and over again.
Perhaps Daughtry’s more hard-hearted fans will interpret this album’s track structure as hinting at a return to heavier things, and a concurrent return to all-conquering form. On this evidence, there’s no doubt where Daughtry’s ultimate strengths really lie. So why not go all out and really play to them next time?
LTK RATING: 87%
Pre-order Cage To Rattle (out July 27) on iTunes.
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