Papa Roach – “Help” Track Review
Papa Roach knowingly deal in caricature. In their youth they were severity, aggression and bombast incarnate: famously threatening to cut their lives up into pieces before deathly droning that there’s only obsession. In later life the fourpiece appeared to have escaped the Nu-Metal era and emerged as a glossy Alt-pop outfit that felt like the Californian airs to a throne long since vacated by Motley Crue. It’s hard to reconcile, on the one hand we have the ironic showmen, on the other, the young men who dealt in pitiless brutality.
The one key continuum between the Roach of old and veterans of today is an impeccable knack for identifying a punchy arrangement and a good (if not life changing) hook. This is the reason Papa Roach keep getting asked back, year upon year, to play the summer’s hottest rock festivals. They know how to make toes tap and heads bang without alienating mainstream audiences.
“Help” is in this Roachian mould. It is a masterclass is buoyancy and ease. Papa Roach might have played these chords and sung these cadences in infinite varieties over the past two decades, but they remain as catchy and immediate as ever. Better still, Roach appear to have found a way to bridge the themes of past and present: the tone is light hearted and knowing, but the lyric sheet returns to themes indecision and insecurity that gave their early work some venom. Make no mistake; there is no nihilism to be found on this record, but plenty of introspection and self-doubt.
The acoustic chords really steal the show; giving the track a dose of scratchy oofmph that eerily recalls Ed Sheeran, albeit in the midst of a considerably more muscular arrangement. Papa Roach don’t delve into the abyss these days, but “Help” shows that they can be flamboyant pop stars and teenage brooders simultaneously – and, for that reason, “Help” is a welcome (and insanely addictive) return.