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'Proof Of Life'
(Wind Up Records)
Release Date: out now

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

scott stapp

American singer/songwriter Scott Stapp has had a turbulent career to date.

Coming to everyone's attention as the face of the US multi-platinum selling band Creed there was a very strange kind of split when the other three band members went off to form Alter Bridge with new singer Myles Kennedy while their erstwhile bandmate recorded a solo album 'The Great Divide'.

Both these post Creed projects were successful in their own right which just goes to prove if nothing else that all these guys can sell albums in any line up.

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Despite there seeming to be some bad blood between the two camps Creed reunited in 2009 and produced a new album in 'Full Circle' with a lucrative tour to follow. A rumoured fifth album never materialised though and it seems things have resumed back to the post Creed set up with Alter Bridge continuing their rise to stardom and Mr Stapp back to doing albums on his own.

Rumoured to be working on a double concept album about lust and love what eventually surfaced was this new single disc 'Proof Of Life'.

Creed were generally reviled by the critics despite their success but personally I enjoyed their commercialised grunge-Metal sound (sort of where I wish Pearl Jam had ended up) allied to some terrific songwriting.

Listening to Alter Bridge's debut 'One Day Remains' and Stapp's 'The Great Divide' it was obvious to me that whatever creative differences there were between the original Creed band members they want to make music along similar lines and the opening tracks from 'Proof Of Life' seem to confirm that theory once more.

The album opens with a stylistically grunge-metalesque 'Slow Suicide' followed by 'Who I Am' and then the strongest of the opening trio of songs, the title track. The latter has some nice acoustic touches, a strong chorus and some almost eastern sounding flavours along the way but overall while being a strong start there are no surprises here.

It's with the next track 'New Day Coming' we get some idea that the former Creed frontman is not ready to sit still and has some new tricks up his sleeve. You could describe the song as an uptempo acoustic ballad with a typically catchy chorus.

'The Only One' is a slightly left field take on the epic Metal ballad with its' unusual structure, acoustic base and uplifting chorus sections while 'Break Out' and 'Hit Me More' are more formulaic but lighter and more poppy than the way the album started.

'Jesus Was A Rockstar' has an almost Kid Rock like country Metal feel to it while 'What Love Would Do' is almost something like Daughtry would do in the commercial feel good rock/pop vein. The final two songs on the album 'Crash' and Dying To Live' are more of the same which does mean the album fades out really instead of ending with a bang.

There is a good reason Scott Stapp has been involved with so many successful albums and that is that he is a consummate songwriter and this album proves that beyond doubt. There is not a bad song on this album and they almost all sound like they would be commercial radio successes with their pristine arrangements, strong vocals and memorable choruses.

I really like the fact that the album doesn't sound like Creed most of the way too but despite all these good feelings I have found that I have yet to love this album. With so much radio friendliness evident I find I enjoy it one song at a time but as an album I would like to maybe hear something with more depth and interest among all the poppy choruses.

That is probably a bit harsh though and I think if this album gets heard enough he will have another success on his hands.


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