Eddie Van Halen is on fire, but where are the songs?
There’s a lot that’s good, and good-natured about A Different Kind Of Truth (** 1/2), the first album the still combustibly carefree sounding rock quartet that bears the name of Van Halen (as well as his drummer brother Alex and bassist son Wolfgang) has recorded with David Lee Roth in 27 years.
For one thing, there’s Roth, who, reunited with the band for a tour in 2007 and will join the VH family for a much-anticipated jaunt that will bring them to Philadelphia and Atlantic City in March.
The 56 year old professionally charming cad has lost much of his vocal range. But he still knows how to have a good time, whether offhandly noting in “The Trouble With Never” that “selective amnesia is only a heartbeat away” or delighting in the philosophical ponderings of the turbo-charged talking blues “Stay Frosty.“ Roth’s self-mocking flamboyance qualifies him as one of rock’s great showmen, and when that’s coupled with the dazzling dexterity of Eddie’s lightning runs and a thunderous rhythm section, you’re back behind the wheel of that Camaro you drove in 1985 with a beer between your legs.