Fuel provides the bridge between the commercial leanings of most modern rock acts and the bruising intensity of old school metal bands. As a result, the band’s third album, Natural Selection, makes for an interesting listen.
The Pennsylvania quartet hit the big time in 1998 with their debut album Sunburn, and their music has stayed relatively consistent since. The band alternates between radio-friendly rock like the single “Falls On Me” and darker, more aggressive sounding tracks like “Quarter.”
Some might say that Fuel’s blatantly commercial songs contrast too vividly with the heavier material, while others would say it gives fans the best of both worlds. The disparity of styles can be seen once again with dirge-like tracks such as “These Things” and the almost pop-rock of “Most of All,” which sound like they come from two different bands.
But in today’s modern rock climate, where bands like Nickelback and Puddle of Mudd have adopted similar strategies, Fuel’s tactics seem dead-on. The radio singles keep the corporate suits happy, while fans of bruising tracks like “Getting Thru” are catered to as well.
The fact that Fuel still sells records and that they have a deal in an era of cutbacks and artist purges at major labels, shows they must be doing something right, even if what they are doing seems a little too obvious.