Jackslacks – Other Side EP (2014)
Label: Shield of Love Productions / Bungalo Records / Deuce Management
Score: 4/5 Stars
Spring is here! Which means another genre-bending EP from San Diego rockabilly mainstay, Jackslacks. “Other Side”, Jackslacks seventh solo release on the indie label Shield Of Love, may be his most personal music yet: an homage to his father, who passed away last year. As per usual, Jackslacks sings and drums on the self-composed track, but apropos of the subject matter, his family lends a hand: first of all, a reunion of sorts, as brother Bill, front man for Detroit’s Nobody’s Business contributes his signature guitar licks. But it doesn’t end there; we have the next generation present and accounted for too, as nephew Billy sings back-up, and Jackslacks’ daughter, Taylor, lends her violin virtuosity – perhaps the song’s most singular element. Notable ccontributors for the EP: Jackslacks lead vocals & drums, Bill Giorgio electric guitar, Taylor Giorgio violin, Billy Giorgio backing vocals, Chris Cote acoustic guitar, Mark Fahl electric guitar, Bill Grubbs upright bass, Dave Roof piano.
Produced by Mike Kamoo & Jackslacks.
One gets the impression, early and often, that Jackslacks are very much a retro guitar-oriented project with guitar and vocals in the forefront. For this 50’s style approach it works extremely well thus putting the spotlight on Jackslacks guitar and vocal virtuoso. The songwriting is far above average, with hooky-danceable tunes, songs that naturally run their course not under duress, and a wide variety of American/Blues tidbits offering the bulk of what makes this 2 track EP so impactful. Lately many forms of entertainment put an emphasis seems to be shifting from a good acting or effective character development to things like Special Effects and visual flash. Music is following down the same path. With Music the emphasis is shifting from good genuine songwriting and Top Flight vocal ability to more visual flash, cookie cutter songwriting, autotune theatrics and overly choreographed performances that lack spontaneity. For the most part Jackslacks aren’t necessarily great at one thing, he is equally great at many things. With The Jackslacks the genuine songwriting quality is there, the solo and rhythm guitar performances are pure gold, vocals hold their own and the messages are clearly from a carefree time in Americana music. Track 2 “Come Home with Me” is another jumpy rock n’ roll showcase. Jackslacks possess strong musical instincts behind the freeboard and he also has a good look. Musicianship and musical flow equal parts grooving, equal parts rocking providing the perfect connection with people who enjoy this amazing style of music. Musicianship is undeniably appealing, with Saloon style Piano, Rockabilly-50’s style rhythm guitar and solos, acoustic guitar and Americana fretwork laid over solid bass covering a variety of genres (in terms of tempo and feel). Also worthy of note is the crisp production work, which does a definitive job in highlighting the band’s strengths while keeping a nice easy going musical flow in the process.
Jackslacks vocal talents may not be to the elite level of say Chris Issak but he does manage to get his point across. Also with this last comment his vocals are kind of pushed to the back of the mix where they need to me more in the forefront. Vocally Jackslacks needs to come out of his shell more and take it up a notch with unfettered recklessness like Brian Setzer does. Also I might add 2 songs is all you get, really?
Jackslacks is not some tacky superficial artist trying to get your attention; he has lived the life and walks the walk and talks the talk. He’s for real, this music is real, and this EP is what the world needs right now – something carefree and real. Let me repeat that in case you missed it – what the world needs right now is something carefree and real. “Other Side/Come with Me” EP by The Jackslacks is something special delivered by a special musical personality armed with real life experiences, played to us by real musicians. Need I Say more. Check it out via the below link.
Sample Link: http://jackslacks.bandcamp.com/album/other-side
Jamie Loveless, Approved by Michael Rand
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