Rock and Roll is Black and Blue
02. Get Up
04. Just A Beautiful Day
05. I Don’t Care
06. You Wear Me Down
07. Type Of Girl
08. Always Away
10. Don’t Do This
11. The Masochist
12. I Believed In God
13. I Believed In God (Reprise)
[Bad Taste Records/ Aquarius Records]
In every metal-head’s life, there was a time when we listened to accessible music albeit classic rock on prime-time radio or the pop stars that our young minds were susceptible to. We all started with commercial and arena friendly jams and whether you’ve abandoned that kind of music completely, revisit it for nostalgia’s sake or you simply still enjoy it like a lot of us used to it still exists. While commercial music still has plenty of innovative and legendary bands such as Muse and The Foo Fighters respectively, there is a lot of rock and roll that just won’t stay dead. The AC/DC‘s, Metallica‘s, Aerosmith‘s and Kiss‘ of the world have long overstayed their welcome for the sake of monetization while not bringing anything new to the table. They take a lot of spotlight from bands who are the least bit interesting and fun. Enter Danko Jones, a Canadian hard rock three-piece that beckon a refreshing take on vanilla rock music.
Firstly, don’t expect the modern messiah of rock music; this is hardly a band stretching into new territory. Danko are textbook rock n’ roll and many of the riffs here can be traced back to the Led Zeppelin and Cream days of the 60’s and 70’s. Old riffs don’t stop Danko from putting on a show though. He is an incredibly charismatic performer and doesn’t hesitate from changing the status quo in subtle ways. Each track on this album has an element that keeps it above mediocrity. Notably, Danko utilizes several techniques that are ‘ballsy’ when it comes to radio rock. The songs are punchy and rhythmically entertaining while Danko’s voice handles the majority of the melody. The trio are a tight group and exploit each others strengths in the best of ways; the fuzzy bass tone, the pummeling percussion, concise guitar work and anarchic vocals. By listening to the interplay between instruments and how they compliment each other, you can tell the group cares about their niche and spends a lot of time refining their ability. Even if it is generic rock, you have to give them credit where it’s due. These guys are at the top of their game.
Rock and Roll is Black and Blue is an enjoyable listen at the end of the day. The lyrics are hardly enlightening but after listening to conspiracy theorists, science fiction enthusiasts, philosophy nuts and misanthropists all day, it’s almost refreshing to hear someone sing about dives, bar fights, getting laid and getting paid. Accompanied by a vocalist who is willing to yell for four bars with no instrumental support, and compete against his own guitar work for the spotlight, it’s bordering on the line of fascination.
Supporting Danko is a rhythmic duo who are more than capable of handling their duties in some of the the more technical bands that we feature on this site. The bass tone is huge, fuzzy, and confrontational which is just another aspect that removes Danko from the mass of unworthy rock bands ever so slightly. The bassist, John Calabrese, isn’t afraid to take the spotlight with bass fills interspersed throughout the tracks. And it would be unfair to leave out Atom Willard who is just a beast on the kit. Atom utilizes some complicated fills and accents the beat in creative ways. Whether it’s his punk driven beat on ‘Conceited‘ or the crazy fills on ‘I Don’t Care‘, it’s safe to say he is underrated.
RARIBAB isn’t new by any stretch of the word, but Danko Jones has managed to be just passionate and dedicated enough to kick this release (and several of his past albums) out of the void. Their songs are catchy and his sound is distinguishable. Sometimes, that’s all you need. If you’re a fan of unbridled rock n’ roll with absolutely no meandering bullshit, check this out.
Danko Jones – Rock and Roll is Black and Blue