18 February 2015

Danko Jones - Fire Music

Mr Danko Jones - a man who exploded into my life when I saw him supporting the Backyard Babies in Northumbria University far too many years ago for it to be healthy.  Honestly, the man was like a demon on the guitar, the bas was pounding, the drummer was making such a racket with a minimal kit and they dropped my jaw.  I still have a signed album 'I'm Alive & on Fire' from that night which getting played more regular that other albums (not sure it needed the arrow pointing to the crotch from Mr Jones, but each to their own).  Since then, this Canadian trio has changed a lot; Mr Jones and bass player John Calabrese are left in the band I saw all those years ago, there has been many drummers come and go, since that night the Backyard Babies have supported him on tours, they have toured the world, made a really good name for themselves, one of the songs from this album was the theme music for the 2015 WWE Royal Rumble PPV and then there is this very record.  It is the seventh studio album in total and it has been three years since their last release - 'Rock And Roll Is Black and Blue'.  I have to say that whilst I have always tried to keep up with what is going on in the world of Danko Jones, it sometimes does not happen as much as I would like; but I have been really excited by this build-up of this release, so let’s see what is happening here.....

Starting off the album is the quick building "Wild Woman", the riff just sounds like a bomb being dropped; once the main riff starts and the band get into their groove and then they bring this hard rock anthem to light.  As with a lot of Mr Jones' songs it is about a woman who has brought Danko down a darker path and it sounds like a plea to be together and a warning as well to guard your heart.  Either way, it is a storming opening and shows that they are back at the top of the game from the opening moments of this album until the sound ends in a slowly fading feedback.  "The Twisting Knife" brings the speed up a bit, this time it is a murder song about killing the man who is having an affair with your woman (the killing of the woman is also mentioned as well) and the twisting knife is actually the pain in the heart at the revelation of the affair. It is a great number, the energy of the song is really good, the subject matter is fanciful at best and for dramatic purposes; this makes it an escapism anthem for me well-crafted and keeping up the momentum from the opening number.  After this we come to "Gonna Be A Fight Tonight" which was used for this year’s Royal Rumble as mentioned before, it is another hard rocking number which has a stop start beginning before it starts pounding along.  I can understand why it was used as a wrestling show song (the lyrics scream montage), but it does not have the drama of the opening two numbers.  It is still a great song, no doubt about that one; but I just prefer strange stories I guess.

"Body Bags" is the fourth song and once again the song starts with a bang, it also speeds up the number again with a punk flavour added to the hard rock mix, the result is explosive (I have used that word a lot in this review).  This song of holding grudges and their after thoughts is another sing along song which is another great number for this album.  Finally the speed slows down (thankfully not the intensity though) with "Live Forever" - if it had have got any fast it would have been going faster than Motorhead and that is not possible with hard rock.  "Live Forever" is at heart a love song about wanting to live forever with a loved one, one of the corner stones of rock music is wanting love to last forever (almost as important as being done wrong).  The sounds like the devil is trying to serenade angels, also that the devil might be winning this time.  "Do You Wanna Rock" is an song about rocking (or it could be about getting it on - it might have a twin meaning in places), it certainly does rock out on this number; it is a bass heavy number and it is another rock number which has the cow bell in it (sort of like "Don't Fear The Reaper") and together with the riff that sounds like a strut and like a UFC approved punch makes this a great number that makes the opening part of the album sound like one of the most solid openings to an album in 2015.  "Getting Into Drugs" is about the first time getting high and the effects that come along with it; now it is not for me to debate about the taking drugs, good or bad - but this is showing both the good and bad sides of being a junkie, it is most a negative tale towards the end (obviously to show the decent of the subject into a world coming undone) and it still sounds as if it could rock all night long as well.

The eighth song on this album is called "Watch You Slide" which has an almost manic country undertone to the sound - the finger plucking guitar adds to the flavour - it also sounds like the good old boys are out looking for trouble and seeing what they can do in the night.  It is fast and furious, never losing momentum and another number that keeps up that good work which has been at the forefront of the album thus far.  "I Will Break Your Heart" can easily be described as a hard blues rock song, the man is a lady killer and is telling it from the beginning that he is not to be trusted.  Overall, it is a good number and it shows that you can slow down without losing any of that intensity and there is not an acoustic guitar in sight.  Penultimate track "Piranha" is just plain silly, a fast and furious ball of pain about a lady who is like a piranha.  The thing is, this is something that Mr Jones is one of the few people who can pull this sort of song off with style (on that compilation 'I'm Alive & On Fire' there is a song where he refers to himself as "The Mango Kid" and without a drop of irony he delivers it to the masses.  This number is just silly, fun and a blast - it is throw away, but still really good.  Ending is the painful heart break that is "She Ain't Coming Home", I was expecting a slow burning blues anthem here, but it is a hard rock blues, ball breaking anthem to end the album with a shot of adrenaline that shows that not all heartbreak has to be solemn.

For eleven songs, Mr Jones and co show that they have not lost any of their passion, speed or hard rocking sensibilities over the years.  Even when they slow it down, they are still rocking like it is the end of the world and that they need to get that last little piece of rock out there before the planet implodes.  It is much like Motorhead, they do not need to change their style or add something like an acoustic guitar.  It may be out of step with a lot of chart music, but my deity it is refreshing to hear an album that sticks two fingers up to the world and forges its own path through the world.  This is an instant hit for me and well worth your attention - Danko Jones, still rockin' shit hot after all these years.

9.5 out of ten - Almost perfect......almost

Top track - Live Forever

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Danko Jones website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

For our Deezer users, here is a link for you

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