"I'm so addicted to all the things you do when you're going down on me," frontman Jared Weeks sings at the beginning of Saving Abel's first single, the Nickelback knockoff "Addicted." Led by competent vocals and plenty of guitar muscle, the band's self-titled debut makes all the right moves for a modern rock release. The biggest problem, then, isn't found in the band's musicianship, but rather its intentions. Within Saving Abel's first five minutes, Weeks sings about women pleasing him in bed, losing their clothing in his car, and doing god knows what behind closed hotel doors. Talent aside, he comes across as less of a vocalist and more of a kiss-and-tell chauvenist when he gloats about those escapades, and the band does itself a disservice with those first two songs. Several tracks later, "18 Days" blends blue-collar power balladry with more positive lyrics, sounding vaguely like Candlebox's "It's Alright" with Chris Daughtry at the helm. The song is perfect fodder for modern rock radio, but only when it's taken out of context, since this debut album is still stinging with the aftershocks of testosterone overload by the time that tune rolls around. Over the course of the 11-track disc, the band "a"lmost manages to upright itself, leaving the listener to wonder why Saving Abel chose to lead off with grungy cock rock instead of a more universal number. After all, when an album contains this many ballads, a hard rock band has the rare opportunity to amass a number of female fans rather than bank on the male audiences that support Puddle of Mudd, Nickelback, and other such groups. Unfortunately, Saving Abel's track list doesn't do this band any favors, and the co-ed appeal of "18 Days," "Beautiful Day," and "Sailed Away" provides little relief.
Andrew Leahey, Rovi