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Van Halen A Different Kind Of Truth

February 17, 2012 by staff 

Van Halen A Different Kind Of Truth, In Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth,” there’s a lot that’s good, and good-natured, the first album that the still-combustibly carefree-sounding rock quartet bearing the name of Van Halen (as well as his drummer brother Alex and bassist son Wolfgang) has recorded with David Lee Roth in 27 years.
Eddie Van Halen is on fire, but where are the songs?

In Van Halen’s “A Different Kind of Truth,” there’s a lot that’s good, and good-natured, the first album that the still-combustibly carefree-sounding rock quartet bearing the name of Van Halen (as well as his drummer brother Alex and bassist son Wolfgang) has recorded with David Lee Roth in 27 years.

For one thing, there’s Roth, who reunited with the band for a tour in 2007 and has joined the VH family for a much-anticipated tour. The 56-year-old professionally charming cad has lost much of his vocal range.

But he still knows how to have a good time, whether offhandedly noting in “The Trouble With Never” that “selective amnesia is only a heartbeat away” or delighting in the philosophical ponderings of the turbocharged, talking blues in “Stay Frosty.”

Roth’s self-mocking flamboyance qualifies him as one of rock’s great showmen, and when that’s coupled with the dazzling dexterity of Eddie’s lightning runs and a thunderous rhythm section, you’re back behind the wheel of that Camaro you drove in 1985 with a beer between your legs.

The trouble is that even though many of the songs are reworked versions of 1970s demos (or maybe because of that), with a few notable exceptions like “Blood and Fire,” they’re largely lacking in the melodic pizzazz that turned VH into such a hit machine in their heyday.

This is a complete, respectable effort that avoids nearly all of the pitfalls typical of decades-in-the-making reunions, but short of songs that can stand up to “Hot for Teacher.” (Interscope, 2 1/2 stars).

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