Seriously, how much ass can a band’s name kick? The Jett Blackk Heart Attack rolls off the tongue, which is rather fitting, since their music is indeed some very easy to appreciate rock.
My initial reaction upon hearing their first notes from my car speakers was that the band closely resembled The Clash, provided The Clash had collaborated (and recorded) with a calmer and easier to understand Ramones. I could even imagine a dash of Cheap Trick thrown in there as well. The Jett Blackk Heart Attack sounds as if you made a
triple decker sandwich with 70’s, 80’s and 90’s rock layered on top of each other, topped it off with a sprig of punk and added some of Buckcherry’s attitude on the side.
Whether the band meant for it to happen that way, I’m not sure, however I managed to, without even trying, attribute the majority of these tracks to the influences of classic artists that have become staples in our culture. It must be a trait of bands who work with Full Force Studios to be so thoroughly fleshed out in their individual styles while simultaneously managing to lump slivers of established greatness together to form original work that is genuine, quality and worth repeat listens.
On The Jett Blackk Heart Attack’s debut album, Dave Case starts us off with the title track, informing us that he “want[s] to tell you what [he’s] feeling through the stereo speakers”. We equally want his information. Jonathan Cox supports this contention on guitar, which Cox knows how to make scream without whining. The title track opens the album and it is a decent enough headbanger without ruining the remainder of the album by giving you a headache right out of the gate. This track struck me as one that would make a great opener to a future addition to the “Rock Band” video game franchise.
Following the title track is the catchy and groovy “Blackmail for Beginners” that features such hardcore and in-your-face lyrics as, “you interrogate while I masturbate ’cause I know where you’ve been. I can see the rug burn on your knees again.” Strong! This is one cheating bitch who is going to get called out on her b.s. He’s on to her and if she didn’t know it then, she is surely aware of it now.
“Hit and Run” is next on the list and it is commanding in its sensuality. “If looks could kill, [he’d] bury you.” I can only imagine the visual there and the steam that could pour off of such a gaze. The song comes off as bitchy in its assertiveness. The band comes off as confidant in just how cool they truly are.
“Hell or High Water” has a rock style akin to that of the band Jet. It is another toe-tapper with a great beat (provided by Dave Musser on the drums), and it keeps a sense of AC/DC‘s sensuality alive by comparing an all-night sex romp to a running engine, one that can keep on running all night long.
The band sounds almost like a sedated Motley Crue on “All You Want”. The hook here pulls you in simultaneously with Case’s vocals, Cox’s guitar and Joe Rubino’s bass guitar all coming together to pull you off the cliff as you used to hang there by your fingertips. There is just a hint of Poison here, which hopefully The Jett Blackk Heart Attack has managed to channel without the big hair and leather. Going by their picture on their website, it looks like we are safe.
It was easy for me to imagine “6 AM Time Again” as a fast-paced music video, or as a possible backdrop to the opening montage of a teen comedy like American Pie. This tune seems like it could be easily picked up to compliment a quick moving story line. (Hey, Hollywood, you listening?)
All jokes aside, “Without Your Man” is, hands down, my absolute favorite track on this album. This is a most fantastic way of starting off “Side B” (in keeping with the phonographic concept of the album). It almost seems like Sides “A” and “B” sound different when comparing the set lists. I’m not sure if that was on purpose or if it’s just how I interpreted it.
Anyway, “Without Your Man” is the bluesiest, grooviest track here and bore much more than a passing resemblance to Jimi Hendrix’s classic track, “If 6 Was 9”. The staccato here is impeccable and you almost feel guilty for wanting to dance seductively to this man’s misery. A solid guitar solo adds a nice touch here and I was impressed by the complimentary organ (Hammond B3?) that was slipped ever so slightly into the mix.
In the latter half of the album, I noticed that I was able to pick up on a lot more influences with each track. For example, on “Another Pretty Face”, I recalled The Hives’ “Tick, Tick, Boom”, in the way The Jett Blackk Heart Attack emphasized the “yeah”‘s. “Heads or Tales” is a fun storytelling track that, for some reason, pulled up the slighest hint of Black Sabbath for me, and “Little Miss Untrue” came off as a bit like The Offspring in the beginning but resulted in less screams and more catchiness that was more akin to the style of ZZ Top.
“Brokedown City”, the final cut on the album seemed to be the Part 2 to “Little Miss Untrue”, that is, as if it was meant to be a continuation not in lyrical content but in instrumental similarity. I sensed an echo of Rage Against the Machine here, and the band concludes their collection with great lyrics like, “it’s hard to breathe when the air smells shitty” or “watch the city f*ckin’ burn.”
In short, if you enjoy any one of the plethora of bands that I have listed above, then you are sure to like at least one track on this album, (hopefully more). Listening to “Needle to the Groove” was like picking a classic rock band out of a box of chocolates, never to get the same flavor twice.
You can sample some of The Jett Blackk Heart Attack’s work on iTunes or at their channel on Youtube.com. Also, the band is going to be on MTV on April 25 at 10 PM on Episode 4 of “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory”, so if you’d like to check them out then, be sure to watch or set your DVRs.
Learn more about the band on their Facebook page, their Myspace page or at their website. A hard copy of “Needle to the Groove” is currently available for sale at Looney Tunes in Babylon if you sample the tunes, like what you hear and would like to pick up a copy and support the group.
Parting thought: The Jett Blackk Heart Attack is classic rock at its modernly tuned finest. Check it out and be impressed.