CKY has been an anomaly in the hard rock world. Not quite heavy metal, but possessing a heavy sound and attitude and rabid fan base (as evidenced by fan response to recent critical reviews of the group), the band has managed to forge a unique identity over the course of three albums that keeps them distinctive and fresh, if not always superb. Nonetheless, the band's third effort, "An Answer Can Be Found", progresses smoothly along the same lines as the band's previous album, the excellent "Infiltrate - Destroy - Rebuild".
The Philadelphia-originated group continues to blend massive riffs, a full-bodied production style, and an interesting combination of stoner esthetics with futuristic leanings. The band's music has a sleek style that has always sounded vaguely mechanized, yet also features a casually psychedelic vibe that has also been found in the better retro-rock outfits like MONSTER MAGNET and KYUSS. Add to that some riffs that clearly reference the golden era of thrash metal (a genre that CKY frontman Deron Miller has cited as an influence, and has actively strived to promote with his work on the long-in-arrival DEATH tribute record), and the results are an interesting sonic brew.
The group (filled out by guitarist Chad Ginsburg and drummer Jess Margera; a new touring bassist is soon to be named) does not shy away from melodic material either, and some of the songs on "An Answer…" are among CKY's catchiest. "Dressed In Decay" and "Familiar Realm" are memorable tunes, while album closer "Don't Hold Your Breath" is equally infectious and also provides a mellow contrast to the rest of the record. What "An Answer…" does lack, however, is one absolutely killer tune. The album flows nicely and the band rocks hard, but there is not a showstopper here, just a lineup of strong tunes, which in itself is hard enough to find these days.
The album's other occasional drawback is Miller's vocals, which are limited in range and often sound a bit over-produced. As an integral member of the group, his presence and contribution are now part of the band's overall identity, but there's something in his voice that fails to connect and take the songs to a higher level of intensity.
With that, however, "An Answer Can Be Found" still offers much: a unique, powerful and hard-rocking sound, solid songwriting, and an ominous yet thoughtful atmosphere. CKY may not yet have found the answer to the minor problems that hold the band back, but their search continues to be a worthwhile one.