Album review – The Screaming Jets – Chrome
By ANDREW McKAYSMITH
If you have been in touch with the Australian music scene over the past 30 odd years you will have heard The Screaming Jets. Far from a nostalgia act, Dave Gleeson and the lads have released what could be their most unified body of work – and that’s no knock on past releases. It sounds as if all those years of working rooms and stages from Merewether to Manchester are distilled into 11 tracks of soul music for the hard rock aficionado.
Opener “Automatic Cowboy” starts with a riff that would make Grinspoon guitarist Pat Daven blush – this is a track made for live performance and brings to mind a vision of steam rising from the nodding heads of the punters in the front row. After such a cracking entrance the album eases into a trio of tunes that see Dave baring his soul, or at least channelling the spirit of a reformed man who lived to tell his tale. Third track “Razor” is a standout on the album – the intense lyrical narrative matched by white knuckle guitar passages and phrases. Where so many guitarists might have over played, Jimi Hocking and Scott Kingman hold back before releasing a Maidenesque lead break to close out the track.
Fifth track “The Grip” is closer in DNA to the opener, this is a blink-and-you-miss it up-tempo rocker. “Sex and Violence” is notable in part for the light/ dark- quiet/ loud dynamic – Dave sums it up nicely when he sings “….Such a beautiful mess”! “Won’t Stop You” is a mainly acoustic track- there is a passage in the chorus where there is a lyrical exchange between Dave and what could almost be his conscience or alter-ego” “I don’t always get it right (I sure would like to)”.
The riff in “Smack in the Mouth” is straight out of the Malcolm Young book of dirty tricks – Angus would have been proud to include that on anyone of AC/DC’s most recent albums. “Scar” is a solid bar-room boogie – you can almost smell(continued below)
that the valve amps have heated up to full power at this point, a real foot stomper. “Turn It round” is another up-tempo rocker with a solid groove riff before the guitar solo- one of many guitar solos on the record that could be described as a “song within a song”.
A notable attribute on this album is the backing vocals; in the same manner that Michael Anthony supported Sammy and Dave in Van Halen the vocals here add that “4th dimension” and every song is enhanced due to their presence.
So … a more than worthy addition to the Jets catalogue, and your collection as well.