Album Review: Van Halen, 'A Different Kind of Truth'

78 Billboard Rating

VAN HALEN
"A Different Kind of Truth"
Producers: Van Halen, John Shanks
Label: Interscope Records
Release Date: Feb. 7

It's been a whopping 28 years since David Lee Roth last made an album as the frontman of Van Halen -- more than twice as long, in other words, as his original stint with the legendary Los Angeles hard rock band. Yet for all the in-fighting that's gone down between Roth and Eddie Van Halen in the last few decades (including during a fractious 2007 reunion tour), there's no denying the chemistry they share on "A Different Kind of Truth." Less than a minute into first single "Tattoo," the album's opener, Roth is layering his drunk-uncle yowl over a blistering Van Halen riff in an utterly familiar manner. Of course, that might result from the fact that the band has said it assembled much of Truth from unused song scraps left over from the bad old days. Hardcore fans will no doubt spend the time until Van Halen's arena tour reaches their town combing their old bootlegs for the provenance of the breakneck "China Town" and the acoustic-bluesy "Stay Frosty." As comeback albums go, though, this one feels unusually natural.

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