With no demands and intentions other than to rock its balls from start to finish, Cock Rockin’ the debut album from Australian rockers Jackson Firebird, is one of those slabs of straight forward honest rock ‘n’ roll which you always have a hunger for before realising. Consisting of ten passion rifling slices of blues bred rock, the album is a riotous party come brawl with something for every type of rock fan. It is a flavoursome morsel for anybody with a taste of the Kings Of Leon to The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin to Eagles Of Death Metal, Seasick Steve to Rage Against The Machine. The Victoria hailing band and their album has already seduced the homeland and now with its worldwide release via Napalm Records, Jackson Firebird is about to enflame the rest of us.
The band consists of guitarist/vocalist Brendan Harvey and drummer/vocalist Dale Hudak; the two meeting when Harvey and the band he was in, was in Adelaide to record some demos minus their drummer. The band ended up calling up Hudak who learned the songs in the car on the way to the studio. The pair continued to play together, jamming out the back of a family owned bakery. It was 2006 though when Jackson Firebird was officially born, new songs and gigs soon thrusting the band’s sound and increasing reputation across local venues, Adelaide, and subsequently the east coast. The duo went on to share stages with the likes of You Am I, King Cannons, the Snowdroppers, Little Birdy, and the Fumes before settling down to record their first release, a five-track EP. Jump forward and as mentioned earlier Cock Rockin’ has already been uncaged and recruited the fullest acclaim and new passions down under with its release in 2012, and now is the time for the rest of us to stomp with its insatiable bait.
The two pronged stripped down attack immediately hits the spot and appetite with the opening title track, its raw energy and full-on mischievous passion of the song reminds of another duo, The Black Frame Spectacle from Canada, though sound wise they are more rockabilly seeded. The song rampages with riffs and rhythms flailing in the hungry energy, from the very first second never relinquishing its feverish persuasion until the last heated note, even in the incendiary slow blues prowl midway. The vocals are as vibrant and slightly grizzled as the sound, a nice causticity stalking their surface fitting in perfectly with the fire bred hues of blues guitar in solo and rampant riffery.
The impressive start is potently backed by both She Said and Rock Solid, the first moving in on a virulent roll of drum enticement soon smothered in the acidic flames of guitar, that blues twang again enticing appetite and emotions over the unrelenting rhythmic incitement. As in all the songs simplicity rides the passions as eagerly as the more involved craft of Harvey’s solos; that repetitive bait especially tempting across the second song as it leads into its greedily agreeable climax. Its successor opens on a recognisable groove, and it is fair to say that there is plenty on Cock Rockin’ that is familiar as well as original but nothing comes in any shade other than that unique to Jackson Firebird. The track simmers and strolls with melodic lips kissing the senses and a sonic fingering stroking all the naughty bits of satisfaction, their potency matched by the almost Graham Parker like vocals and a constant southern bred entanglement.
Quan Dang forces it’s might through the ears next, an instant RATM inspired attack breeding vocals and the opening groove before entwining itself with a bolder hard/glam rock swagger. It is, like so many on the album, an irresistible encounter which has feet and voice willing cohorts to its infectious revelry, just as the following Red Light and the irrepressible Little Missy. The first of this pair restrains its intensity a little more than others though darkens its shadows for a thicker encounter with choppy riffs and meandering melodic scorches. There is certain sultriness to the song too, a salacious element matching the title as it raises the temperature before the second song opens up a sinewed temptation of rock ‘n’ roll bruising which is as much Chuck Berry like as it is Black Crowes suggesting.
Can Roll bares its swagger and heart next, rhythms a magnetic incitement welcoming in imagination and the rich sonic enterprise of Harvey, both he and Hudak laying out anthemic bait which takes no prisoners or accepts no for an answer. Its virulence is not quite matched by Goin Out West, at first at least, it’s opening country rock walk with a bluesy climate a simple engagement initially but something which suddenly explodes into an unbridled stomp of forcibly kicking beats and entrancing sonic tendrils of suasion. The track brews its toxin along the way so by its departure thoughts and passions are infected for a long term ardour.
The album finishes with an equally potent flourish, Sweet Eloise a song soaked in blues venom and rhythmic enslavement whilst offering another Zack de la Rocha like vocal tempting, and the raw Red Hair Honey which simply sears and ignites ears and passions like a wanton temptress. It is a scintillating end to a wholly thrilling introduction to one of Australia’s previously best kept secrets. That secrecy is no longer now as Jackson Firebird struts across the globe with, as their album says, its Cock Rockin’.
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