Danko Jones – Wild Cat

Man, I just love Danko. I love the music, the attitude, his podcasts and his writing. He is a genuine rock n roll enthusiast. I consider myself a guy who is quite well versed in the metal, rock and punk scenes, but the people this band sites as influences and as big and important names, I’ve never even heard of. Just another proof that there is always more to discover!

Wild Cat presents a band harking back to its roots, taking small steps forward and showing off some influences. The songs that speak to me the most are the songs in a classic Danko Jones style. Hard riffs, with big stops, fat bass and slightly obscene lyrics. I Gotta Rock, My Little RnR and Revolution are typical examples of the dirty gritty rock that Danko does so well. Danko himself isn’t the best singer in the world, but he’s a damn fine vocalist and front man. When he finds his rowdy voice and speaks in stead of sings and then belts it out on the chorus; that is truly his finest hour.

Let’s start Dancing is different from the rest of the track, every now and again this band release songs that reminds of dance music; fast, repetitive and with a thick rhythm section.. It’s quite catchy, I’ll admit to that fact, but also a “skipper”. The title track is clearly influenced by the seventies hard rock scene and sporting some flat out sexual lyrics. Going Out Tonight reminds me of First Date, one of the bonus tracks on the Sleep is the Enemy album, slightly more punky, but still. Do this Every Night is a sleazy little tune, not in a Steel Panther kind of to obvious way, but in a gritty, bluesy, rock n roll kind of way. Success in Bed is maybe too much on the nose lyrically, but a damn catchy, fun, bluesy tune.

Danko is no shredder in any sort of way, but his guitar tone is fat and heavy, and sometimes almost funky. Calabreses bass is strong and solid, and I’ll just admit it straight away, I’ve lost track of who the drummer, as it has changed too often. Most riffs are in the cross section between punk and rock n roll, except maybe You’re My Woman which sounds like a Thin Lizzy tune, both melodically and musically. I’m not the biggest lizzy fan, but I enjoy most of their music, and I also like this track. Even though this tune is way outside what the bad usually does, it works great.

This record has a few new twists and turns for the band, but everything sound very much like the Danko Jones I’ve come to know and love. It’s just not the band at its best, it’s the band at its medium, for the most part at least.

Recommended tracks: I Gotta Rock, My Little RnR, Success in Bed, You’re My Woman

Rating: 3 / 5

Danko Jones – Fire Music (Bad Taste 2015)

Fire Music, well I don’t know if fire necessarily is the right adjective, but there is something blazing in Toronto. Danko Jones seems to be one the most honest, down to earth guys in rock. I’ve loved his stripped-to-the-bone style for a few years now. This doesn’t only apply to his music, but he also has a podcast and he writes better than most people, just check out his Huffington Post pieces.

I will admit that I liked it better when he played balls-out rock, with a hard rock meets garage rock type of thing. The big simple riffs, hard hitting, in your face attitude of the first three or four records are definitely gone. On Fire Music the band has sped things up and seems to have found some inspiration from punk rock. Songs like Wild Woman or Body Bags are without a doubt punk songs. Fast, fist pounding, with choruses made for going crazy and shouting your lungs out the show.

Gonna Be a Fight Tonight was released as a single / teaser a few months before the release of the record. It was a good choice for single as it has a lot of that certain umph and intensity that is why I keep listening to Danko. Live Forever is a midtempo piece with a slight Motörhead (Fast Eddie era) feel to it. I’m thinking it has to do with the bass sound and driving guitar riff.

Do You Wanna Rock is back to garage rock, where Danko uses his best vocal technique, the fast talking, with attitude type of thing. The song is not the best the record has to offer, but a fairly well rounded rock song. The riff is a kind goofy, fast thing, fun. Getting Into Drugs has one of the weaker riffs and boring melodies of the entire album, but is annoyingly addictive, pun intended. The chorus has been stuck in my head for quite some time now. The Twisting Knife is a great, hard hitting popy song. The blend of melody and rowdy guitars works out in a balanced way.

Fire Music isn’t Dankos finest hour, but is an even album. The quality of the music is high throughout the record. I do miss the catchy, ballsy single cut, that stand out track that makes me remember that particular album. But this only leads into my ongoing internal debate about quality of an entire albums vs the high quality single track, which I shouldn’t get into now.

I do think this is a good record, but it’s not a contender for either record of the year or top five releases by Danko Jones. Rich Knox fits his drumming quite seamlessly with the bass. I do miss the time when Calabreses bass sound was a bigger part of the sound, a bit ballsier and in your face. Although the mix is fine as it is, I personally liked their old style of raunchy garage rock better than this polished and fine tuned radio friendliness.

I got the box set edition of the album, and the swag is well worth the extra money, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Recommended downloads: Do You Wanna Rock, Gonna Be a Fight Tonight, The Twisting Knife