As far as Waltham is concerned, grunge just didn’t happen. That’s the only conclusion to be drawn from a band and an album that screams “80s Revival” with the guitars turned right up to 11.
Waltham is actually a repackaged version of the Boston band’s debut, Permission To Build, and even though lead singer Frank Pino doesn’t have an annoying falsetto voice, it’s not only an album title like that that begs comparison with The Darkness. Bursting at the seams with more hooks than a high school changing room and a wildly infectious sense of fun, Waltham should be lapped up by those who enjoy the outrageous Brit rockers, as well as by those who enjoy Bowling For Soup and even Cheap Trick and Rick Springfield.
Opener “Cheryl (Come and Take a Ride)” starts with a punchy riff and no-nonsense chorus, and there’s barely any let-up until the closing track, “All I Want Is You.” Titles like “Maria Simeone,” “Nicole” and “Joanne” hint that the band’s songwriting isn’t exactly addressing cerebral subjects, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the layers of melody and boundless energy present in nearly every song.
A DVD of recording outtakes and assorted goofing around is included with Waltham as a bonus; and although devotees of Nirvana or Pearl Jam will probably hate it, the band is probably too busy rocking out to care.