Were this a year ago, I'd probably write off Hollywood hair metal quartet Steel Panther without any thought. It was a time where I tried to prove to everyone that I was a sophisticated bastard and would have to show an understanding of pieces of art with designs that made no sense, and only allow myself to watch indie films that used a lot of symbolism and little of anything else. Then at some point at the start of this year. I just stopped, thought to myself "Lighten the fuck up!" and put on Twisted Sister's I Wanna Rock. So, now I'm up for some less-than-classy crude humour delivered in the form of some old school glam rock. So what better place to find it than in Steel Panther's second album, Balls Out?
From listening to the beginning of the album, it's clear to see that Michael Starr knows a thing or two about cheap sex puns. It's best seen in Just Like Tiger Woods. There's a lot of golfing puns going on like "Remember when You're having fun/ Three holes are better than a hole in one", or "If you wanna be like Tiger Woods/ Filling all the divots in the neighborhood". That's probably the best example of the kind of wit based humour on the album. The rest of the humour from the lyrics are just from how unexpected the kind of things the band refer to are and it's pretty awesome. The best examples come on Tomorrow Night ("I'm going to a party - tomorrow night/ But tonight I'm playing Angry Birds/ Like a million other nerds") and Why Can't You Trust Me ("Stop threatening the bitches on my Facebook page/ Or I'm gonna rip your head off in a cocaine rage"). Really some of the lyrics you have hear to believe. Those examples are intentionally not the best on the album. The way that they just come out of nowhere and hit you hard causes sheer hilarity. Unless of course your humour is more high brow than that kind of thing, in which case, why are you reading this?
Because Steel Panther are aimed to be a comedy band, it can be hard to focus on the music itself, which is a great shame, because goddamn, these guys know how to play heavy metal. Guitarist Satchel makes some real hooks on this album which show a real homage and sense of inspiration from the 1980's Hollywood sleazy glam rock scene. Of course, in a sense there's a worrying sign for what has become of this type of music in the present day and age, if the only band who can do it well are a comedy band.
Overall, Balls Out is just fun to listen to in it's lyrical craziness and decent playing of hair metal. As good as it is on first listen, it's probably the kind of album that would get a little less exciting with each listen. There's some pretty awesome stuff here, just lower your sense of sophistication and enjoy. Also the best phrase to describe Balls Out would have to be "NSFW".
Steel Panther's Balls Out is out now via Universal Republic Records. The band will tour the UK in December with Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe.