About to round off a run of UK shows, Jack Black and Kyle Gass aka Tenacious D must wonder how to recapture the mojo that brought acclaim to their self-titled debut. Black's Hollywood career remains buoyant, so exposure is no problem, yet 2006's 'Pick Of Destiny' was off the mark - a typical 'difficult second album'.
The above point is immediately addressed by the opening title track, an attempted slow-burner that proves as rousing as a bleak winter's morning. Black's ever-theatrical vocals fail to enthuse and when the matter is addressed on 'Classical Teacher' the result is even worse. A spoken word sketch, somebody needs to let the duo know that sodomy jokes don't work, particularly when your combined age is touching a century. The music proves equally uninspiring, with heavier moments like 'Deth Starr' and 'Throw Down' instantly forgettable, while 'Rock Is Dead' proves a sadly accurate title.
Thankfully, 'Roadie' proves a reminder of the quality Tenacious D are capable of, rediscovering humour about those who get the gigs going, while 'The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage' shows they aren't afraid to mock themselves. Ironically it is a track that references ageing years - '39' - that proves the most refreshing, a mock-ballad in acoustic tones that amuses throughout. If this trio wasn't present it would potentially be time for The D to call it a day - but there's a little life just about still showing.
Continue reading: Tenacious D - Rize Of The Phoenix Album Review