A Jackknife To A Swan
REVIEW BY: Jason Thornberry
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/27/2003
A Jackknife To A Swan is pretty un-ska. They're busy writing songs about Mafiosos, and the whole affair sounds more like anthemic chorus-metal to me. The horns do come up from a triangle in Bermuda to affect the choruses, but the band seems sick of all that silly skanking business. Good for them, but we've got this whole Bosstone legacy to put to bed, don't we?
The up-strokes on the guitars framing "Everybody's Better" reach artificial realms previously populated by Rancid whenever they dug out riffs from their earliest incarnation. This is well done, but even smelling salts won't revive ska now. Save Ferris proved that.
These guys have more in common with metal than ska -- at least their rhythm section does. Dicky sounds like he's taking vocal lessons from Lee Ving and David Lee Roth these days too. GG Allin pops by on the weekends to show him how to properly shit blood as he croons. "Chasing The Sun," their most "traditional" song, still didn't really get much further than The Bunker Hill Bandits, an unknown garage band who admitted to stealing their best ideas from bands like Operation Ivy and The Voodoo Glow Skulls.
I remember when the Bosstones brought out that catchy track about never having to knock on wood. Great song. In fact, just mentioning the thing brought it back on a loop in the jukebox plugged into my skull. "…but I know someone who has. Makes me wonder if I could…"
I liked the dusty-alleyway-Tom Waits-isms of "Seven Ways" the best this time. They ended the affair with it, but I was just getting interested at that point (a budding new direction?). That wasn't ska either! Lose the 'Mighty' before your name, the uber-ska, generic 'Tones' bit, and just let Dicky sing about defiling the nearest crucifix with those palm-muting guitars.
To quote Emerson: "Keep it real, aight?"
|I think it's pretty lousy to pigeon-hole a band into a genre before you review their album. Jackknife may not be a classically pure ska album, but it's a damn good album in its own right.|