Last year Kodiak Jack thrust themselves firmly on the British rock ‘n’ roll scene with Alhambra, their second and seriously impressive album. It built on the acclaim and success of its predecessor whilst revealing new depths and invention to their instinctive anthemic sound. Whilst not expecting the album to remain their finest moment, it was easy to wonder if they had already reached the point of realising their potential such its impact and thrilling presence on ears. It was a loose thought in a silly moment as the Portsmouth band now return with the Scars EP, a slab of contagion loaded rock ‘n’ roll easily putting the majority of the last album in the shade. With an openly more mature nature in songwriting and sound, and richer in riffs and melodic drama, the four songs making up the new encounter just roar passion and attention gripping adventure.
Since sparking ears with their first album Death: My Glory in 2011, Kodiak Jack has just gone from creative strength to acclaimed strength, quickly whipping up fan and indeed media attention from their early days and not really looking back, even if they have yet to break into the strongest and broadest spotlights. Live the band has equally earned a massive reputation, playing with the likes of Kobra & The Lotus, The Cyborgs, Paul Gilbert, Everything Everything, Elvis Jackson and many more only enhancing their emergence and growing stature within the UK rock landscape. As suggested Alhambra, which Kodiak Jack recorded with Tesla’s Brian Wheat, helped the band whip up a new and bigger buzz around them, though suspicions are it will be surpassed by reactions to the release of Scars.
The EP starts with what for us is the rock single of the year, Only The Good, a track which has you to your feet in physical and vocal involvement swifter than a trucker leaving Calais. The guitars of Jeff Arnold and Jon Karp ruffle ears before triggering a bigger and bolder flood of ravenous riffs, swinging rhythms, and tangy grooving. Just as swiftly vocalist Bryn Roberts is roaring with his outstanding delivery and presence, backed by the quality tones of Karp, with the song just growing with richer anthemic and dynamic energy at the same time. The chorus is simply insatiable; a viral persuasion which will have all listeners, from those alone in their bedroom right through to those packing out venues, roaring their heads off as the music rigorously and masterfully controls the body like a puppeteer.
The track is simply prime rock ‘n’ roll and alone worth grabbing Scars, though more than backed by the other trio of songs, as shown straight away by its title track. Crafting a more restrained stroll from its first breath, the song is soon binding ears in enterprising hooks and sonic vibrancy, again a gentler first touch blossoming into a fuller embrace of melodic imagination and vocal tenacity. Catchiness is a given and a snarling bellow is never far from another bracing chorus but there is much more to its body of sound and temptation. Rhythms almost dance on ears as they imposingly jab whilst the lines and tone of Kev Farren’s bass just seduce with dark resonance alongside the fiery exploits around it.
Sirens kicks up its own individual muscular storm next, uniting an almost aggressive energy with warmer melodic ingenuity. Addictive hooks bite whilst infectiousness oozes from every bass note and spicy groove, their lures driven on by the guitar’s web of rapacious riffs, sonic scything, and acidic adventure. Inflamed further by the expressive passion and versatility of the vocals, the song lives up to its name, its call inescapable as one mouth-watering proposal swaps places with another and the closing seducing of All I Want. Southern rock laced with a matching lilt to Robert’s croon, the song just immerses ears and thoughts in its sultry embrace of sound and emotion. Everything about the song, indeed the EP, feeds every want and need in a heavy rock incitement, thoughts eventually asking if there has been a finer and more potent slab of rock ‘n’ roll this year.
Listening to Scars again and again it is hard to think of many that rival its power and impact on body and soul. Is it the most original thing you will hear in 2015, probably not but the most thrilling and spirit rousing, hell yeah! Kodiak Jack just gets bigger and better, watch out world they are coming to get you.
The Scars EP is available from August 10th digitally and on CD via Angry Badger Records @ http://angrybadgerrecords.bigcartel.com/product/scars-four-track-cd-ep-exclusive-pre-order-offer-signed-and-numbered-cd