Conceptually speaking, Chickenfoot, on tour with Davy Knowles, seems less like a band than an act of revenge — an attempt to outdo the current incarnation of Van Halen by two disgruntled VH vets (wailer Sammy Hagar and vocalist/bassist Michael Anthony), supplemented by a couple of ringers (axman Joe Satriani and Chili Peppers pounder Chad Smith). Fortunately, the act's self-titled debut album is more listenable than that, if hardly chock-full o' surprises. The lyrics, exemplified by the "Soap on a Rope" couplet "I wanna dance, I gotta sing/Rock, soul, blues, sing anything to ya, hey," press the usual buttons in the usual ways, and Hagar's rasping remains generic. But the mainstream format imposes much-needed discipline on Satriani, whose showy wanking can give masturbation a bad name, and Smith and Anthony make an appropriately heavy rhythm section. The results won't cause Eddie V. to eat a gun barrel, but neither will they make rock fans plug their ears.


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