Cherry Red [Release date 06.04.15]
High Wycombe’s Jettblack have only partially registered on my ageing cortex in recent years, and in truth they’ve not really made an impression. Years ago they toured with Airbourne, more recently with Reckless Love. But fast forward to 2015 and ‘Disguises’ lands on the mat with a thump. This could be the band’s defining moment.
If we discount the previous album of mainly re-recordings and covers – ‘Black Gold’ – this is the third “proper” album following the worthy ‘Raining Rock’ in 2012 and might be seen as a natural progression. The break from their usual producer may have been a good move as this is a lot more rounded offering that pitches them with contemporaries such as H.E.A.T. and The Treatment.
Perhaps I was a little put off their previous product by the perceived retro eighties sleaze/glam metal vibe and whilst that can still be detected (for example ‘Broken Bones’), ‘Disguises’ is simply a very fine heavy rock album. It’s mostly heavy riffage and irresistible traction from the moment the band burst into ‘Slaves’, via ‘Explode’ and the grinding title track, to the superb ‘Human’.
It’s not all riffs and groove, on tracks like ‘Poison Rain’ and ‘Evidence’ a lot of thought has been put into the arrangements with good use of vocal harmonies and changes of pace to keep the listener hooked. ‘Enemy’ also provides a welcome bit of light and shade whilst ‘Smokes & Mirrors’ is a little bit Winger in styling and a fine way to end the album.
Musically, ‘Disguises’ is a great vehicle for singer (and main writer) Will Stapleton but most of all it’s a great advertisement for a band that after some years may be poised for bigger things. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
On Sunday 28 July 2019, David Randall celebrated his 600th show. “Assume The Position” started in June 2007 on UK City Radio before transferring a year later to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio. The show includes tracks played on the first show plus Upton Blues Festival highlights, new music and the regular features “Live Legends” and “Anniversary Rock” which this week celebrates the Island Records label 60th anniversary.
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Power Plays w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
BEFORE FIRE Dead Eyes (indie)
SCOTT & MARIA Never Give Up (indie)
CORELEONI Queen Of Hearts (AFM Records)
BERLIN Transcendance (Cleopatra Records)
PHIL CAMPBELL These Old Boots (Nuclear Blast)
PHIL LANZON Blue Mountain (Phil Lanzon Ditties/Cargo Records UK)
Featured Albums w/c 19 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 SOLEIL MOON Warrior (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 ROXY BLUE Roxy Blue (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 DREW HOLCOMB & THE NEIGHBORS Dragons (Magnolia Music/Thirty Tigers)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
JAMES STEVENSON Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over (2013)
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