Last year, lifted on a rising tide of classic rock resurgence, Jettblack’s debut ‘Get Your Hands Dirty’ had NEXT BIG THING printed all over it, writ large. They’ve toured with Papa Roach, Airborne and Fozzy, they supported Whitesnake, the critical acclaim was tumultuous. It looked liked their ship was coming in.
This year, the follow up, ‘Raining Rock’ asks some questions. More in a moment.
With one eye on the Japanese market, a short instrumental intro precedes the staccato clatter of the title track – a track that thrums with energy and crackles with electricity. A confident, compelling start, one that should have led into a series of songs as good as if not better than ‘GYHD’, but doesn‘t. On the plus side, ‘Prison Of Love’ sounds like it was plucked intact from US FM Radio, circa 1989. It’s a cleverly constructed counterfeit, right down to the cliched lyrics and po faced delivery, but there’s nothing false or fake about the maddeningly familiar melody and the aurally adhesive hook. That said, it does stand a little apart from the metallised character of the surrounding tracks – it’s book ended by the schoolboy salaciousness of ‘Less Torque More Thrust’ and the formulaic power metal of ‘System’.
You can hear that the producer, Dan Weller, has tried to replicate the energetic vitality of the debut, but ‘Raining Rock’ plods occasionally. Where the music once glided elegantly now it occasionally drags its feet, summoning up just enough drive and fire to stumble valiantly through underwritten, overproduced songs like ‘Something About This Girl’ and ‘Sunshine’. Elsewhere, the mock heroic ‘Never Gonna Give It Up’ and Side Of The Road’ simmer satisfyingly without igniting, while ‘Temptation’ and ’Between Lovers’ seem satisfied with simply aping Whitesnake.
It’s left to the Waspish ‘Black Gold’ and the mini epic, ‘The Sweet And The Brave’ to recover lost ground. Both purr smoothly through the acoustic gears before cranking up into electric action, and despite the absence of truly memorable tunes they go some way to saving the day. Although arguably, it’s too little, too late.
Jettblack are a band who have fought their way to the front of the queue, and they deserve to be there.
They now have their noses pressed up against the glittering shop window of fame, but they may find that ‘Raining Rock’ just hasn’t provided the key or the combination to get them inside.
Rated 7 out of 10