Review: Steel Panther – Lower The Bar

Because life can never get depraved enough, I volunteered to take on the new album from Steel Panther, three years on from last release All You Can Eat. The title is either a reference to what they can do to any conversation or a suggestion as to how to enable “little people” to drink more easily, a pun played on by the album sleeve.

Right, on with the filth. The tracklist (see below) gives you an idea of what to expect, as if you needed a clue. If you need to think twice about what a song title refers to, then a) it’s probably sex and b) this album may not be for you. As ever, we have a musically Van Halen-esque collection coupled with the social values of a 1993 issue of Viz.

I have to be honest – opener “Goin’ in the Back Door” wasn’t quite as blatantly disgusting as the title promised, though things definitely get a bit more familiar with “Anything Goes” which features a list similar to that in the last album’s “Party Like Tomorrow is the End of the World”.

By the time we’re on “Poontang Boomerang”, the most recent video release, we’re well into the stride of things. A great track, one any band would be proud of. Especially if they’ve got the sense of humour of a sexually repressed 15 year old.

The first genuine guffaw of the album hit with “That’s When You Came In”, an acoustic number with a hard-hitting electric chorus. It’s the kind of subtle that The Darkness gave us with “Christmas Time”… it’s not as rude as you think it is, but they really make you feel guilty when your mind inevitably heads gutterwards.

“Wrong Side of the Tracks” brings Nickelback to mind (oh, dear – prepare for hate mail) with its list of things that spoiled rich rock stars throw their cash at – penis-less statues, hot wives and the like. You can take the boy out of the trailer, but you can’t take the trailer out of the boy!

Highlighting the fact that the band are spreading their musical wings with this album is the trippy “Now The Fun Starts”. It’s definitely got a bit of a seventies psychedelic vibe mixed in with some “of-the-time” drugs and debauchery-related lyrics. The munchy-induced hangover is washed away by the loud intro to “Pussy Ain’t Free” which is pretty much an anthem to one of life’s great trueisms. Please don’t tell my wife I said that…

Back into ballad territory, “Wasted Too Much Time” is Steel Panther’s take on the end of a relationship. Definitely more “glad to be out of that” than “oh, I miss you so much”! I can see the chorus working well as a live track. It’s definitely a singalong number. Lexxi’s bass rumble along with some space-rock keyboards bring us into “I Got What You Want”, which is pretty much about what your dirty mind thinks it is. You know all those songs KISS and WASP did where they alluded to genitals? Well, leave it to Steel Panther to get straight to the *ahem* point…

I’m pretty sure everyone here has endured a “Walk of Shame” before and the Panther boys probably have the whole thing down as routine by now. This southern/glam rock anthem is probably the truest song on the album to their previous material in terms of sound. Some great solos break things up a bit, but don’t disguise the fact that this is yet another sex-related gem.

If you recognise the opening notes of “She’s Tight” are familiar that’s likely because you’ve heard the original by Cheap Trick. At least we know the Rockford group appreciate this cover, given that guitarist Robin Zander features in the video! It’s a cracking song to finish the album on and Steel Panther do the track justice.

Like a few albums I’ve had through recently, this one’s not hitting me as hard as I expected but I think that’s partly due to our review copy being a stream that I can only access now and again when I have a decent internet connection. I’ve not had a chance to shove it on loop in the car and soak it in. All You Can Eat took me a few listens to really get into and I think Lower The Bar is in that category as well. To keep the tone nice and low – it’s a grower, not a show-er.

Standoud tracks: “Goin’ in the Back Door”, “Poontang Boomerang”, “That’s When You Came In”, “I Got What You Want”.

Lower The Bar is out on March 24th and can be pre-ordered as a [amazon text=digital download&asin=B01N6G7AZ9], [amazon text=on CD&asin=B01LWQ7VK4],[amazon text=special edition CD&asin=B01LXDMLF3] (2 bonus tracks), or [amazon text=on vinyl&asin=B01LXP8M6H]. [sponsored links]

Track List:

  1. Goin’ in the Back Door
  2. Anything Goes
  3. Poontang Boomerang
  4. That’s When You Came In
  5. Wrong Side Of The Tracks (Out In Beverly Hills)
  6. Now The Fun Starts
  7. Pussy Ain’t Free
  8. Wasted Too Much Time
  9. I Got What You Want
  10. Walk Of Shame
  11. She’s Tight

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