2013 has been a great year for me in terms of introductions to new and exciting music from bands that I have been previously much less aware of. Regular readers will have noticed that one or two press the buttons that fire up my borderline obsessive tendencies. One such band has been the rather wonderful Jettblack. I had to possess everything I could and get to more shows (our review of their Manchester headline show is still available here http://www.rock-zone.co.uk/2013/04/22/jettblack-club-alter-ego-manchester-20th-april-2013/ ). Two albums and an EP are on regular rotation in the car but for the completist in me this was unlikely to be enough to keep me going until album number 3. Then along comes news of “Black Gold” a new “mini” album featuring a selection of hard-to-find, unreleased & re-worked material.
In days gone by, when bands released real singles (made of vinyl…ask your grandparents kids. Like mp3s only better…and more solid!) you would always get at least one B-side – some were great, some…not so much. Today’s more disposable consumption of music means that often we don’t get to hear those extra tracks that come as bonuses but make for the full works. Now this is great for those of us with OCD but what about the casual listener? I have to admit that I am not, as mentioned above, a “casual listener” – as soon as I heard about “Black Gold” I knew I would have to get it so was likely to be a little biased. For me this is a great opportunity to examine the influences that make Jettblack who they are (the selection of covers), the strength of their songwriting (a great song is a great song and should easily make the transition from full electric to cut-down acoustic version) and, perhaps, even get a chance to see where the band will be going with album number three. On each of those counts “Black Gold” doesn’t disappoint.
I assume this is classed as a mini-album because of previous availability, etc. However, you have got thirteen tracks (if you count the two versions of “Black Gold” that are here as separate tracks). The choice of cover versions included are quite splendid. “Name in Vain” proves what an incredible song writing genius Lemmy is – Jettblack are not Motorhead and the delivery isn’t an attempt to be anyone other than Jettblack (and that goes with their amazing take on Heart’s “Barracuda” and AC-DC’s rather naughty “Let Me Put My Love Into You”).
The other thing about this album that really fires me up is the guitar work on show on the acoustic tracks. A large Marshall stack, loads of distortion and nice light strings can help “hide” a multitude of sins (well it is with me!) but that vanishes when all you’re left with is a wooden box with some stretched wire. Will and Jon are clearly boys with talent – great songwriting and totally appropriate playing.
The new edit of “Black Gold” provides a little extra beef from the introduction of Damon Johnson (from Thin…er, Black Star Riders) and track two features Ian Paice (from Deep…er, Purple!) and, sure you can feel the influence of the cameos but…the tracks are still pure Jettblack. You can hear and feel the passion that these boys have for what they do. Even better, these boys are British and showing the rest of the world that we can still rock and produce it with a melody and joyfulness of approach that can only be applauded. They also have really cool album covers.
Vocalist/guitarist, Will Stapleton says: “We’re very happy to have a lot of our bonus material finally released on a physical format, but we didn’t want this album to be all about the past – which is why we recorded the three new tracks. We loved working on the Heart & Motorhead covers, but it was especially satisfying to get a version of ‘Red Horizon’ down on tape. We’ve had this song since the ‘Raining Rock’ album, and you’ll hear the full version on JB studio album number three – the version here is acoustic, but I think it shows what a big song for us this will be…”
So…is this an album for the casual listener as well as JB fans? To be honest I would recommend the first two full length albums as the best introduction to the band but rock fans who appreciate great songs and talented players will get a lot from this release. Pure “Gold” from the JB mines that bodes well for album number three….I, for one, can’t wait for it
Track-listing & details below:
1) ‘Black Gold’ (feat. Damon Johnson) – new edited version.
2) ‘Feel The Love’ (feat. Ian Paice of Deep Purple) – from the ‘Raining Rock’ sessions, previously digital only.
3) ‘Weapon’ – from the ‘Raining Rock’ sessions.
4) ‘Fade Away’ – from the ‘Get Your Hands Dirty’ sessions.
5) ‘Let Me Put My Love Into You’ (AC/DC cover) – previously only available on a cover-mounted CD.
6) ‘Red Horizon’ (acoustic) – previously unreleased.
7) ‘Barracuda’ (Heart cover) – previously unreleased.
8) ‘Name In Vain’ (Motorhead cover) – previously unreleased.
9) ‘War Between Us’ (acoustic) – previously digital only.
10) ‘Not Even Love’ (acoustic) – previously digital only.
11) ‘Sunshine’ (acoustic) – previously digital only.
12) ‘Prison Of Love’ (acoustic) – previously digital only.
13) ‘Black Gold’ – full album version.
The Black Gold mini-album is released on the 19th August via those lovely folks at Spinefarm. You can pre Order from the following places:
Digital Download Via iTunes with free instant download of ‘Black Gold’ (Featuring Damon Johnson): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/black-gold/id672247373
LTD Signed CD – http://store.universal-music.co.uk/restofworld/jettblack/jettblack-black-gold-signed-cd-album/invt/0602537465040
On the live front, Jettblack have just embarked on a string of UK festival appearances; these include Scar Fest in Stoke-On-Trent on August 25th. Other upcoming dates are:
25.08.13 STOKE-ON-TRENT – Scar Fest
07.09.13 NOTTINGHAM – Macmillian Fest
20.09.13 BROMSGROVE – Rock & Circus