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Thursday, August 29th, 2013

From the very first chord, it is clear that with Black Gold, Jettblack are unashamedly yet arguably, the best looking hairy boy-band on earth and intend to keep it that way with their poster-boy charm and unassuming talent for rocking out with everything BUT their cock out. They are the epitome of retro-rock with agreat big ball of cheese on the side. However, not to undermine their talent and musicianship, (as well as cheeseballing)- this is a more refined brand of cheese- one destined for, say, the lactose intolerant rocker perhaps-absent of any ‘sugary sweet’ vocal, but full of tasty licks and more ballsy than Randy Marsh in South Park’s ‘Medicinal Fried Chicken’ – and born for those with specific dietary requirements.

The album’s title track, ‘Black Gold’ has a Boston-esque feel to it, (only without the odious synth track) but instead, Will Stapleton’s brusque, gravely pipes both stabilises and punctuates the newer, softer sound,providing due contrast to their newer, heavier sound. It’s a definite departure from the bassier original, released previously on 2012’s ‘Raining Rock’, some of the heavily criticised, ‘tackier’ interludes have been removed for the single version* but all the good bits have been left in tact; such as the ever-so catchy riff before the memorable lyric ‘save this’, which takes the song to an all-new level of strophic ecstasy. Featuring such heavyweights as Damon Johnson on guitar, the opening track sets the thrusting tone for what’s to follow and definitely puts the ‘ball’ in ballad.

Dow’s guitar-playing has a suitable ‘Hendrix’ style feel and having seen them perform recently at their rooftop performance at London’s FACTORY311™, wherein they wowed industry folk at Denmark Street’s rooftop secret location, home of the prestigious agency, with their talent, wit and cock-rockery. Although shy off-stage, his on-stage ostentation is definitely Dow’s strong point (not to mention his model good looks). This comes through audibly on ‘Feel the Love’, which also features Deep Purple’s Iain Paice who takes the intro of the song and slaps you in the face with it, then makes sweet love to you-aurally.

‘Red Horizon’ too, is scrumptiously stripped back and has connotations of the wild wild west; its lyrics echoing the solitude and heart-break of many a country song but with an undeniably catchy rhetoric and a hook which plucks at the heart-strings, pleading: ‘Where did my red horizon go?’.

Other standout tracks include the faster, more energised version of Motorhead’s ‘Name in Vain’, in which Oliver’s drumming is remarkable), AC/DC’s ‘Let me put my love into you’, together with Jettblack’s interpretation of Heart’s ‘Barracuda’, which has taken the original ‘galloping’ riff to another level which breeds a repetitively rhythmic quality and promotes all day-long recitation whilst doing the dishes. Better than the original too, bassist Tom beefs up the bottom end of the track simultaneously with Stapleton’s high-pitched wail, which, simply put, would rock the flipping socks off your granny.

* For the more traditional die-hard fans, the full version of the title track ‘Black Gold’ appears at the end of the album, book-ending what can only be described in teacher terms as the perfect pastiche of it’s title’s resonant link to coffee; providing tasteful stimulation,thirst-quenching refreshment and definitely worthy of a Gold star or five. Top Marks lads!

Images: Nathan Hick & John Cronin
Words: Bronagh McPartland

Thanks Bronagh!

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