With only the support of MTV’s Jackass and two classic skate videos, “Landspeed: CKY” and “CKY2K” (from the creators of “Jackass”), CKY has accomplished more than most bands do with massive label support. CKY’s major label debut, a re-release of their album Vol. 1, proves that their music, though not ready to “take over the name of rock n’ roll and piss on its face,” as guitarist Chad Ginsburg suggests, might just live up to the hype.
Deron Miller’s vocals are varied throughout the record, sometimes gravelly with an effects-laden vocal one octave lower, other times clean with a laid back melody. While most hard rock bands have, for years, depended on at least one rhythm guitar track to hold it together, CKY ignores this standard, and succeeds musically nonetheless. The band flaunts two lead guitarists (Miller and Ginsburg) who frequently play walking lines in unison with no backing rhythm guitar. Their riffs work up and down the scale just fast enough to distract us from Jess Margera’s slow rock percussion.
“96 Quite Bitter Beings” opens the album with CKY sounding their best: the guitars stomp on your face, the drums alternately ride on the downbeat and hi-hat on the offbeat, while the vocals switch back and forth from matching the intensity of the riff to wooing us to sleep. “Disengage the Simulater” throws in a little more reverb and a smoothed-out vocal producing an alterna-pop slow jam while “The Human Drive in Hi-Fi” is half-disco and half-funk with a riff straight out of Faith No More’s Angel Dust. “Lost in a Contraption” sports Middle Eastern guitar lines backed by a rare rhythm guitar hitting the offbeats like a hard rock ska tune dabbling in moments of Scooby-Doo-style monster music.
CKY’s sound is not revolutionary, but the band certainly works hard for their individuality. Tracks like “My Promiscuous Daughter” feature some curious lyrics: “I caught my daughter giving head to my brother/What can be done with my promiscuous daughter?” Make of this what you will, but it’s certainly more entertaining (and refreshing) than the misogyny that has plagued hard rock of late.