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Monday, April 7, 2014

Album Review: Jackson Firebird – Cock Rockin’

Crude, lewd Australian dudes Jackson Firebird are a duo utterly embedded in the world of sex, whiskey and rock n’ roll. Following the past rules that seem to come with the sleaze rock territory, guitarist Brendan Harvey and drummer Dale Hudak naturally claim they were “spoon-fed from a young age on rock n’ roll”. It follows that careful selection of their band name, album art / title abounds to make sure they tick the remainder of the boxes. Their moniker obviously makes reference to the guitar of the same name but, off the top of my head, it also references past blues and rock n’ roll heroes like Jim Jackson, Jackson Browne, The Firebirds and, of course, Lynyrd Skynyrd (who wrote the all-time classic “Freebird”). As for the coy, nude lady and their constant lyrical references to their collective meat and two veg, well that’s Jackson Firebird in a nutshell.

They prefer to refer to their music as “cock rock” and early listens prove that term appears to be a mish-mash of good ol’ boy rock n’ roll and frazzled blues. They flesh that all out with a good dose of Southern twang, a little noisome rap and add plenty of modern twists and turns too. Time and again they are found making room for elements of Foxy Shazam’s playful abandon and, when the duo pare down their sound into a simple two-step beat with lolloping strings, they manage to gift their music a minimalist quality that marks them out as simple wandering troubadors practicing their art. When this no-frills style is taken to the extreme, songs like “Can Roll” will have you checking round walls and expecting to see the pair busking on a street corner for beers.

Look beyond the trio of swaggering, sex-obsessed, rock n’ fuck ‘n roll openers and you’ll stumble into “Quan Dang”. It’s a game-changer of a track featuring the Johnny Dynell signature “Jam Hot” rap (“tank fly boss walk jam nitty gritty”, etc.) and plays like an amalgamation of Rage Against The Machine, The Beastie Boys and Limp Bizkit. This unique brand of cookie-cutter rock n’ roll riffery that occasionally lurches out into semi-break experimental sections really help the band stand out as one-offs, yet it’s not until they repeat the trick with the killer “Sweet Eloise” that they really make it stick. One listen to its climactic half-spat rap featuring the brutal line “This is my shit, my house, my car / It makes me even wonder how we made it this far” and you’ll be sold.

Ultimately, this duo were always going to live or die on the strength of their songwriting and their vocalist. They may not always excel at the former talent due to plenty of uninspired fillers like the repetitious “Little Missy” or the sluggish “Red Light” but, happily, Brendan Harvey has one sweet-assed voice. He proves it’s gloriously adaptable and is certainly helped out with all the added flavour of some nifty production techniques. So, if you’re a headband wearer, a spontaneous air guitarist or a Jack n’ Coke guzzler, come get a slice of Jackson Firebird’s wickedly grizzled, yet undeniably eclectic rock music.

Also online @ Ave Noctum = http://www.avenoctum.com/2014/04/jackson-firebird-cock-rockin-napalm-records/
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