The Taking is a perfectly respectable riff and hook delivery system, created by a man who knows his way around hard rock.
Poor Duff McKagan. All the dude wants to do is rock, but he's been saddled with two of the more mercurial frontmen of the past 25 years, Axl Rose and Scott Weiland (in Guns 'n' Roses and Velvet Revolver, respectively), to say nothing of the fact that "middle-aged hard rock star" conjures up a VH1 reality show at worst and a summer amphitheatre parking lot before a Chickenfoot concert at best. All of this is to say that, lead singers or critical respect be damned, Duff has to honor his muse, so he's turned to his own band, Duff's McKagan's Loaded. Their third album, The Taking, is a perfectly respectable riff and hook delivery system. If tracks like "Dead Skin", "Indian Summer" and "King of the World" popped up on the Foo Fighters' critically lauded return to form, Wasting Light, they'd be right at home. As it is, Duff (who, in addition to singing, swaps bass for guitar in Loaded) is left churning out dependable modern rock (or "active rock" or whatever the hell it's called these days) tunes like the Sabbath-y "Executioner's Song" and the gritty "Follow Me To Hell" to a dwindling audience, reduced to thanking Monster energy drinks in the liner notes and having his songs played over highlights of Seahawks football games ("We Win"). It's a living, I suppose. Crazy suggestion and a career gear shift: How about a team-up with that other beleaguered, star-crossed '80s rock bassist and card-carrying Guns 'n' Roses member, Tommy Stinson?