Friday, August 3, 2012

Jolly Roger - Rock And Roll Machine - #92

Jolly Roger - Rock And Roll Machine
It's a bit of a workout to write a review about a band's longplayer, when one knows at least one member of said band personally. When I receive such a CD, I usually go "please God, make it be a good one, so I don't have to lie about the virtues of the album", and, I've not been let down so far. Usually the music is excellent and I don't have to worry about growing a nose one foot long. The guardians of Rock'n'Roll can vouch for me, I'm writing nothing but the truth here and I'm not even taking shortcuts or brush the statements up. 

The second serving of Finland's Jolly Roger, entitled "Rock And Roll Machine", lets you have 14 tracks, clocking in at just under 45 minutes. The tracks have been recorded in 2010 and 2011 and finally released this year. The big plus with this CD is, that all of the tracks are self penned (more about this later), and quite good ones they are.  Excellent soundquality, yet with exaclty the right dose of roughness. This is not your polished Sunday morning pop tune, this is Rock the way it should be played. Short, concise and to the point.

The whole enterprise starts with some kind of Blues/Bluesrock ("Sugar Daddy") with the Harmonica playing very hard and giving no way. Gets you a bit on the wrong foot, with an album title like "Rock And Roll Machine", but this is just a surprise moment, the song itself is first class. "Teleport Man" seems, to me at least, to be a Dr. Feelgood cover in disguise. Not that there's anything wrong with that, at the moment it's just killing me to remember where this riff is coming from. Yes, sure, I should know! But I have a Dr. Feelgood blackout now. You know how it is, it's on the tip of your tongue, but for the life of yourself, you can't get it out.
"Lover Man" proves, that Jolly Roger can shift gears down as well, although this is still a rocker, there's no "Kuschelrock" here. What's the thinking behind "M.I.L.F. Cow Blues"? Can someone explain this please? Not that I should have any strange ideas!  A track that owes a lot to Rockabilly is surely "Loveless". I'm pretty sure, any halfway decent Rockabilly fan would have me crucified for this, but it does sound like straight out of the fifties (well, maybe a bit exaggerated). And, hello, who's making an appearance in a further sort of cover version with "Come Back". I can't point my finger exactly to it, but my brain screams Hurriganes. Of course, it's an "original" again.
The line-up is as follows:
K. T. Kotila - Guitar/Vocals (of Jolly B. Good fame)
T. Levonmaa - Bass/Vocals
Ande Niemi - Drums/Harmonica/Vocals
By track ten, not that I needed to be assured, it dawned upon me, that trios (and it seems mostly to be a trio) are, where the real Rock'n'Roll meat is. Well, throw in some additional help every now and then, but the core of the Rock'n'Roll world since time began, is the trio. Everything else is pretentious noodling. Just listen to "Forty-Four", which is quite some example of what a stripped down band can achieve. Some musicians complain about having to play to many fills in a trio, which might be true, but on the other hand, I think with such a bare bones group, you're being kept on  your toes. There's no slack for you, you better pay attention all the time. I'm talking about R-O-C-K and not some, ahem, "Prog" or the like.
While the album slowly draws to a close, I have the feeling, "Evil In My Head" is another "cover". Now I'm leaning very far out of the window, but it does have traces of the Meteors (the Psychobilly outfit). What I actually wanted to say, is, when the 45 minutes are almost over, you realise that there was not a boring second in listening distance and you know, that you've just heard one of these rare albums that will make a return visit to your CD player every now and then. And then they leave you with the "Jolly Roger Rock'n'Roll", some kind of westside stadium screamer. Well, that's Rock'n'Roll for you. Aren't you glad Finland shows the world where the hammer is hanging?

And I haven't lied once in this review. You can order this CD via their website at and have yourself a pretty good time with this album.

No comments:

Post a Comment