As nice as it is to have records that are clever and studied and very knowing, sometimes you can get an equal level of pleasure from records that are straightforward, no messing around and plain dumb. I don’t mean this in a bad way either- what I really mean is sometimes all you want to do is get down and ROCK. And so it proves with this solid, no messing around debut release from French rockers Jumping Jack. The eleven tracks on this debut album are solid, efficient and with enough creativity and style for you to make a mental note to keep an eye on what this French trio might get up to in the future.
Opening track She Made No Resist sounds what I imagine James Hetfield would have sounded like had he decided to join Black Label Society. Wet Desert has a massive riff underpinning its straightforward stoner sensibilities whilst Crystal Tree sounds like an out take from a Queens of the Stone Age record but one brewed on vodka and Red Bull rather than dope and whisky. Churches Flames sounds like mid period Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains (the mid section of the song sounds EXACTLY like Layne Stayley) which is, of course, a very good thing indeed. Elsewhere, Black Jack and Siren’s Blast are pretty solid indicators that the band have EVERY METALLICA RECORD EVER MADE. Taxidermic Sensation, for example, sounds just like Metallica in Load and Reload era, with just the right amount of “ooofs” and plaintive vocals and without any of the lazy drumming.
If I were being critical, the biggest challenge that Jumping Jack have (apart from their less than inspirational name) is that they haven’t quite found a distinctive enough voice; all the tracks on their debut release are decent enough but decent enough may not be decent enough any more, if you see what I mean. Trucks and Bones is a decent blast of southern influenced, heavy rock ‘n’ metal. It’s accessible, straightforward with a decent amount of heavy riffing allied to an instinctive, hard wrought song-writing ability. If you’re after something from the riff-chrous-riff end of the heavy metal spectrum then you could do a lot worse than indulge our Gallic cousins. This is an occasionally derivative, but strangely charming, record. It won’t set the world on fire, but it will certainly singe a bit of it.