The good thing about Def Leppard‘s last album, 2015’s Def Leppard, was that it was very much an in-house operation, with songwriting split amongst the band members and production undertaken at vocalist Joe Elliott’s Dublin home studio. It was an album that sought to bring together all the best parts of Leppard’s history, and, largely, it succeeded in that aim. In 2022, the band have brought in outside writers and return to the mild obsession they’ve developed about storming the gates of Nashville, this time by collaborating with the fantastic Alison Krauss, not always with as much success as they’d like.

At fifteen tracks – more if you get the ‘deluxe version’ – there’s an awful lot of Leppard to digest, so if you’re not in for the long haul they’ve helpfully put the three most recognisably ‘Leppardesque’ tracks at the front of the album. Take What You Want, Kick and Fire It Up may all be slightly more polite versions of the Def Leppard playbook, but they do their job efficiently enough to provide the soundtrack for a few middle-aged roadtrips to see the band on tour with fellow legacy rockers Mötley Crüe this summer. Similarly All We Need, an Elliott/Phil Collen composition seemingly written with the expressed intention of conning the listener into thinking they’ve somehow stumbled across an as-yet-unreleased Hysteria b-side, will get older hearts beating a bit quicker, but that’s really about it if it’s solid gold nostalgia you’re looking for.

Liquid Dust seeks to take the listener back to the glammed-up days of the early seventies but ends up like a Leppardised Suede offcut, whilst the two Krauss cuts (Kuts, surely? – Ed), despite being solid tracks in their own right – especially the slightly overwrought This Guitar – tend to add to the slight sense of dislocation that affects the album after it’s bright start. Still, we live in an age where people tend not to listen to an album as a whole, living thing any more, so maybe that’s not the problem this writer thinks it to be…

The semi-balladic Open Your Eyes and the rousing Gimme A Kiss – actually the best track on the album if you’re a fan of simple, storm-the-barricades hard rock – save the back end of the album from petering out in a morass of filler; But six bona fide great tracks in a collection of fifteen isn’t a great strike rate, so maybe DSH is just a record for you to cherry pick when putting together your next superannuated rockers streaming device playlist… Def Leppard are a great band, of that there is no doubt, but this is merely an ‘okay’ album.

Diamond Star Halos is out now.