x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Nickelback: Here and Now

The band's latest album is a boneheaded effort with nothing new to offer. We have declined to give it a star rating.

Here and Now
Roadrunner Records
No stars

In the film Get Him to the Greek we learn that a staggeringly misjudged and racist video for the song African Child has destroyed the career of Russell Brand's pompous rocker Aldous Snow.

And it is described as "the worst thing to happen to Africa since Apartheid". Nickelback's intensely patronising promo for the lead single When We Stand Together is only slightly less detestable. It shows the band, fronted by the guitar-playing golden-retriever-like Chad Kroeger in a field, then cuts away to images of starving refugees and Indian villagers living in the shadows of billowing power stations.

The song itself - an acoustic-led attempt at rallying the dispossessed, complete with shanty town drums - is offensive only because of its consummate blandness. Twin single Bottoms Up is the album's supposed party number. The boneheaded drinking anthem sounds like Metallica, if Metallica had taken it upon themselves to perform DIY lobotomies on one another.

The rest of the album falls into one of two camps: songs about chasing women (Everything I Wanna Do, Gotta Get Me Some and Midnight Queen) and songs about being miserable once you finally get one (Holding on to Heaven, Lullaby and Trying Not to Love You). There's no attempt here to break away from the band's signature sound, its treacle-like production and heavily layered vocals. Whether attempting an Axl Rose sneer on the opening track This Means War, or Shania Twain pop with closer Don't Ever Let It End, the results are always ghastly and painfully overwrought.