Janina Jade – Heart Of Rock N’ Roll


Swedish vocalist and guitarist Janina Jade is about to release her second album. The follow up to her 2019 debut the Tommy Denander produced No Sweet Illusions she has turned to her drummer (who also supplies Bass here) Tobhias Ljung to produce Heart Of Rock N’ Roll . If I’m perfectly honest two things initially drew me to this album… the first being the featuring Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackon, Jeff Beck) tag and secondly the music press references to her being “the female Kieth Richards”. I think my curiosity was justified on both counts. Janina’s unique vocal style falls somewhere between Keith and Patti Smith giving the whole project the tone of a dirty bar band lifted above the average by Janina’s scuzzy rhythm with Jennifer Batten’s trademark lead sitting comfortably atop.

Title track and opener ‘Heart Of Rock N’ Roll’ gets the ball rolling with choppy rhythms and JJ’s lazy vocal style before the first of Jennifer Battens lead guitar assaults lift the middle section before more of the rhythm guitarist’s chunky guitar closes the track down. The pace lifts over the next couple of tracks but the lyrical mood is darker on ‘The Darkness Of My Soul’ and ‘Before My Time Runs Out’ which features Batten at her most frenzied. Down a gear for ‘Holding On’ think Guns ‘N Roses at their most laid back and you’ll not be far wrong. Strummed driving guitar rocks out on ‘How Long, How Long’ in an almost ‘Sultans Of Swing’ texture but before you know it it’s gone (it’s only just over 2 minutes long – ‘HOW LONG!’ –  blink and you’ll miss it). Charging into boogie territory next the band solidly lock into the groove and run with it on ‘Trouble’ before returning to those dark shades and the “dark highways” for ‘Exiled Within My Mind’. The pace of the roller-coaster continues to ebb and flow as the album comes to it’s finale with ‘Breathless Breathing’s peaks and ‘The Ghost With No Name’s troughs before finally going out on the most jaunty tune of the set in the ‘Last Chance Saloon’.

Despite Jennifer Batten being a big part of this she is thankfully far from overpowering and never slips into ‘Dirty Diana’ territory meaning Janina Jade defiantly supplies the overall dark and personal tone to this project. The two guitarist mix both lead and rhythm very well meaning this small unit play a tight set of cool Rock N’ Roll. If I have one criticism of the album it would be that this kind of band always benefit from a more raw live sound which doesn’t quite work out here but I think these songs will probably find the extra power required within a live setting. If the line-up stays stable (which is doubtful with Batten being in such high demand) and they get a few tour miles under their (studded leather) belts I look forward to album number three.

Review By Peter Brockwell

Track List:

  1. Heart Of Rock N’ Roll
  2. The Darkness Of My Soul
  3. Before My Time Runs Out
  4. Holding On
  5. How Long, How Long
  6. Trouble
  7. Exiled Within My Mind
  8. Breathless Breathing
  9. The Ghost With No Name
  10. Last Chance Saloon