They are not great, but they are doing good...
Dad left home when you were two? Mom’s been slinging back the G&Ts ever since? Coach calling you the weak link in the chain? Hey – [a]Papa Roach[/a] have been there. And they’ve written the album so you don’t have to shoot anybody.
While their most obvious antecedents, [a]Rage Against The Machine[/a] and [a]Korn[/a] are – respectively – the politically articulate revolutionaries of the hard music scene, and the nasty fuck-ups wreaking goth-tinged revenge on the world that made them, Californians [a]Papa Roach[/a] are forging a third way. More often than not, ‘Infest’ – [a]Papa Roach[/a]’s debut for DreamWorks, which has already gone double platinum in the US – feels like a mentoring scheme in loose-cut sportswear.
, raps singer Coby Dick in ‘Broken Home’, and it’s this soft-[a]Korn[/a] empathy-core that’s turned this seven-year-old band from small-town California into America’s latest arena hot cakes. His is a generation made tough by grief, getting tough on the causes of grief. Bad day at the mall? Let ‘Between Angels And Insects’ remind you: presents don’t solve problems.
But where [a]Korn[/a]’s rock of infamy tends naturally towards vengeance, ‘Infest’ remains focused on the powerlessness that presages the shooting spree. Coby Dick‘s weakness – he confessed to a teenage bedwetting problem in his [I]On [/I]interview – is now everybody’s business. But he’s cool with that. His mission is to assure America’s Ritalin generation it’s OK to fuck up and suck at stuff. And they like him for it.
If all art is born of conflict, however, it doesn’t follow that suburban angst necessarily breeds high art. ‘Infest’ may be many things – a big moshpit soundtrack; a corner sighted, if not quite turned in America’s disastrous intergenerational relations; less expensive than therapy – but artful it is not. Eminem, with whom [a]Papa Roach[/a] are currently on tour, is a loathsome excuse for a human being, but a brilliant rapper. [a]Papa Roach[/a] are the exact opposite: a band whose prosaic rhymes and competent riffery are in themselves neither wildly original nor particularly outstanding. They are not great, but they are doing good. They are saying to a fatherless generation, ‘Come to daddy’. They understand, and in these spiritually orphaned times, that is enough.