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Nickelback - Get Rollin' (Album Review)

Tuesday, 22 November 2022 Written by Simon Ramsay

After a five year hiatus, everyone’s favourite musical punchline are back with an album that’s pulled off the unenviable feat of sounding dated the moment it was released. While the rest of the world was in lockdown, it appears Nickelback may have been hibernating in some kind of vacuum-tight stasis chamber. But whether that’s a bad thing or not will, like everything to do with this hugely polarising outfit, be very much subjective.

The sustained and brutal backlash against the Canadian rockers has always been ridiculously over the top. Certain artists will undoubtedly raise hackles, but when people start launching petitions to stop a band they don’t like from playing in a particular country, it’s clearly turned into the kind of pile on that, in any other context, would be labelled as bullying.

Sure, Chad Kroeger may reside in a perpetual state of lyrical arrested development, particular when it comes to sexual references that sound like the work of a horny teen, but on their day the quartet are a fine arena rock outfit you can drink and sing along to without having to think too hard.

Bashing out unsubtle anthems powered by ferocious post-grunge riffage and booming rhythms, interspersed with radio-tailored ballads that, in the right circumstances, with the right person, appear more profound than they are, there’s certainly a place for such harmless escapism. 

‘Get Rollin’’ might be dated, but that doesn’t mean it is anachronistic. It refers instead to the fact they’ve already written the majority of these songs countless times before. For pummelling opener San Quentin see Never Again, Those Days is basically Photograph rebranded and Skinny Little Missy the kind of mid-tempo stripper soundtrack they feel duty-bound to put on every record. 

Credit where it’s due, though, High Time is catchy and quirky with a nice southern rock feel, even if it elicits a slight whiff of bro-country, and the record’s ballad-heavy second stretch does add some different vibes. Tidal Wave has a light and ambient modern pop-rock sheen, Steel Still Rusts is a superb slice of outlaw Americana and Just One More represents an old school lighter-waver in colourful new clothing.

In fairness to Kroeger’s gang, they did attempt to shake up their formula on 2014’s ‘No Fixed Address’. Alas, the results were often dire. Yet, the foursome rebounded from that noble failure with ‘Feed The Machine’, an excellent offering that spiced up familiar tropes in style. ‘Get Rollin’’, on the other hand, suggests the band’s creative muscles have either completely atrophied or they’ve spent the last five years listening to nothing but their own back catalogue. That said, if fans just want Nickelback to sound exactly like Nickelback, this record won’t disappoint.

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