The Fighting Jacks are on Tooth and Nail. The Fighting Jacks are only about 3 years old. The Fighting Jacks are one freaking lucky band. Barely 3 years old, and on a highly respected label. That’s quite amazing. Therefore, I’m expecting amazing things from them.
Well, they have some amazing moments, and some not-so-amazing moments. The Fighting Jacks play a frenetic, quick paced fusion of pop punk ideals and emo leanings. They play with a pop punk speed and structure, but they have dark riffs, screams, and other hallmarks of an emo band. Despite those commonplace, sellout labels, FJ is decidedly anti-mainstream. Most of their music doesn’t even have a catchy melody or a catchy hook. That’s something to be lauded in this day and age. One negative phenomena FJ suffers from is such: when they hit a vein, they drill it dry, resulting in a rush of short, sound-alike songs that could function as one song (the equally uninspired songs Farewell Senator, Commons and Robbers, and Glass Table). There are some pure gems, don’t get me wrong. The wispy, fading “…Of a Dear Friend”, the punchy “Photobook”, and the purposely dissonant “Chercher” all command inventive intros, emo songwriting substance, fist-raising crunch, and a powerful command of FJ’s trademark sneering, sarcastic vocals. In fact, I like more of this than I dislike.
What we have here is yet another band overshooting their capabilities. They are capable of some amazing rock songs, but instead of starting out small, they busted out of the gate with a full-length. This is only their second release by themselves (another was a split), and they just need to refine their sound some more. If I were to pick the 6 best songs off this 12-song album and put them out as an EP for them, it would be one of the best debuts of the year. It’s just that the other 6 songs all sound the same. If you like emo with a refined edge (Thursday, Finch) this will be a great addition to your collection.
Buy: www.bestbuy.com (sells it for 8 bucks….not bad!)