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Album Review: Puppet Strings

Fuel is an American rock band that originally formed in the late 80s/early 90s. The band has experienced many lineup changes since their debut. Puppet Strings is the band’s fifth studio album, released on March 4.

The album opens with its first single, “Yeah!” which starts with heavily distorted guitars, a loud snare and a drum beat. Driven by the loud power chords, the occasional bluesy solo adds a relaxed touch to the otherwise hardcore song. The climax of the song is during the shredding, face melting pentatonic solo. The vocals have a gritty upbeat sound.

The second single, “Soul to Preach To,” has a bluesy undertone that transitions into a clean guitar. The bass guitar pushes the song forward as it walks up the fretboard while the vocals are harmonized.

“Hey, Mama” feels country because of the lightly distorted guitar and steel guitar leads.  The storm of heavily distorted guitars screaming in harmony comes at the bridge before transitioning back into a blues-rock beat.

“Time For Me to Stop” has a hard rock sound thanks to the electric guitars that play a killer rock riff throughout the intro. The chorus transitions into a melodic chord progression while the vocals are harmonized. The bridge has a slower beat, lighter guitar riffs and vocal focused vibe, which lead into a face-melting solo. The song finishes ironically with an abrupt stop on the word “stop.”

“Wander” starts with a light arpeggios and a relaxing lead. The vocals are surprisingly laid back during this rock ballad. Distorted guitars are eventually brought in with heavier vocals before returning to a softer beat. The drums play a floor tom beat throughout the verses. The song has an original sounding chord progression that flows perfectly between chorus and verse.  The song picks up with a classic rock solo and it remains heavy until the end.

“Cold Summer” starts with heavy electric guitars. It cools down during a particular verse when the guitars play a melodic arpeggio and the drums play an extended tom fill instead of the standard hi-hat and snare beat. The chord progression has a catchy Latin beat. The guitar solo, focused around the rock pentatonic scale, isn’t fast or impressive, but it catches the listener’s attention. The chorus switches to a standard rock chord progression that is focused on the vocal melody. The lead guitarist plays a harmony with the vocals to finish the song.

“I Can See the Sun” begins with an upbeat progression that focuses on lightly distorted open chords and a mellow vocal melody. Later in the song, the intensity picks up with more rock ’n’ roll power chords and a light guitar solo.

“Puppet Strings,” a single named after the album, features special guest Robby Krieger, guitarist for The Doors. It starts with a blues-rock riff and a southern rock harmony. The vocals are harmonized throughout the entire song. The majority of the song is upbeat while a small break focuses on a guitar solo full of raw emotion.

“Headache” starts with very heavy guitars and a full effect of double bass drums. It’s a loud track with flailing guitar leads throughout the verse and loud rhythm guitars in the choruses.

“What We Can Never Have” starts with a light acoustic guitar. The vocals are laid back and the overall song is relaxed. It picks up with distorted guitars later in the song and finally returns to the acoustic guitar to end the album.

The album reached 77 on the Billboard 200, a listing of the highest selling records.  Sputnik Music, a music criticism website, gave the album a four out of five stars rating. While the album was fairly good, it wasn’t anything new. If you’re in need of a good rock album, I would highly suggest buying this one. Rockers across the world would find plenty of enjoyment out of it.

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Album Review: Puppet Strings