JACK – Jack
Jack’s brief bio indicates that they are an eighties-influenced riff-rock band and describes them as power-pop. They may be selling themselves a little short as their debut album Jack hits much harder and cuts much deeper. The band formed only a couple of years ago and has been playing out over the last year. However, this debut sounds more mature and self-confident than might be expected. All the tracks were recorded by Jack but they took the care to get the material mastered by Paradyme Productions in Madison and by Glenn Schick Mastering in Atlanta. The result is a punchy, tight rock ensemble with lyrical content that will bowl you over. Another admirable trait is the way the rhythm guitars drop out when there is a guitar solo, representing the sound of the band as it would be in live performance. This lack of pretense is what gives Jack the edge of authenticity.
Jack is fronted by vocalist Nancy Gores, and although song credits go to the band as a whole (except for “Money Talks,” written by My Latest Obsession), there is little doubt that the lyrics were penned by Gores. Jack is nine songs of bad love, some of which are suitable for radio play. By turns humorous and scathing, Gores minces no words describing her feelings about some of her past, present and future lovers. Chrissie Hynde and the early Pretenders come to mind but also Johnette Napolitano, the voice of Concrete Blonde. Gores’ smoky alto and detachment exist in the same vein but she’s more upfront.
“Paris Hilton” is a tale of frustration augmented perfectly by the tension built up in Neil McClosky’s slide guitar lines. “I lost you / To Paris Hilton / You won’t turn off / The fucking television / Why do you treat me / Like Nicole Ritchie? / I’m so much better than that / We can make our own sex tape / I’m gonna get a breast reduction / Cause I wanna be Paris Hilton.” “High” is another bitter assessment of a relationship going bad: “There ain’t no food in the fridge / But baby just ordered another lid / I hear the neighbors complain / Thank God there’s no kids / Cause he gets high / All night long / And I don’t know how this / Can go on.” In “Don’t Go There” she scolds, “Don’t you go there / Stop your bullshit / Stop your cryin’.” Other places she gets even more direct. On “Way Too Much” she sings: “I want to kiss you / In your big, red truck / I want to fuck you / Over lunch / I want you way too much.” And on “Money Knocks”: “Money talks / Should I let it in? / I want some money / But I don’t want to hug nobody / I want some money / But I don’t want to fuck nobody.” Although they’re all good, the best track is “All In,” a glorious piece of rock ear candy that really brings out the Concrete Blonde influence.
Jack has been quietly doing what good rock bands do: working the clubs and developing their identity. When the time is right your paths will cross but you may want to expedite that, catch them early on and witness their coming of age. It’s this process that makes live music so engaging and so damn fun.