Beautiful Criminal

The J Project

SLR Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


Maybe I'm looking in all the wrong places, but there seem to be a lack of many good women rockers out there. To be honest, I don't seek them out; the information available to me is whatever gets played on the radio or talked about. Lucky for me, bands like The J Project decide to send us their records.

I know of a few major rock bands led by women lead singers, such as Heart and Joan Jett. Then there's Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morrisette for the solo crowd. However, when I listen to them, I love their style and their attitude. Why should it just be guys who get to sing about sex, drugs, and rock? Damn it, the ladies are just as good. Case in point -- The J Project.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

J is the lead singer of The J Project (now there's a shocker) and she is damn good. I hear a lot of Sheryl Crow in her, and by that I mean no one can question her ability to rock with the best of them. There's none of this screeching and screaming that can plague an artist like Morrisette; J's vocals are consistently smooth but they pack a lot of punch. Attitude makes up a big part of how effective a performance is, and J has plenty of that to go around.

Of course, J could not carry on by herself. The lead guitarist for the group, Gary, is excellent. One method I use to gauge a guitarist's success is how many times I say "wow" while listening to the album. Gary passes the test easily. He churns out some monstrous riffs and solos; just check out the slides he pulls off on "Candy Cigarettes."

Musically speaking, The J Project is legit. The combined talents of the band members lend themselves well to just balls-out rock. I appreciated the Led Zeppelin groove laid down on the single "Delusions Of Grandeur," and "Grown Ass Woman" reminded me of "Wasted" off Sheryl Crow's C'mon C'mon. These tracks sounds like a Joan Jett record, which is compliment; who doesn't love "I Love Rock 'N Roll"? The J Project captures that spirit, and for that they get a thumbs up.

But this is not a perfect release. A few numbers just don't gel well with overall sound of the band. "Beautiful Criminal," reminded me a little too much of the fluff Santana and Michelle Branch have put out the past couple of years. "Leaving" seems to be the requisite power ballad, and while I won't tear it down, it isn't that good. Finally, there is a cover of Hendrix's classic "Little Wing." While Gary does an exquisite job in sounding like Hendrix, the rest of the song has little flourishes of keyboard and synthesizer, which was an automatic turn-off for me. You just don't do that to a Hendrix song; keep it as bare as possible.

From what I've read, The J Project is gaining notoriety, their single "Delusions of Grandeur" has charted on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. Give Beautiful Criminal a listen and you will understand why.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2005 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of SLR Records, and is used for informational purposes only.