Formed in 2006 in Liverpool with the small aim of creating “the world’s greatest rock and roll band”, The Jokers have released a new album, ‘Hurricane’. Now, just from looking at the track listing, you’ll see ‘Rockerman’, ‘Dr. Rock Head’, ‘Let it Rock’ and ‘Rock N Roll is Alive’ – just in case you were worried about there not being enough meat. Funnily enough, 4 is also the number of times that the word ‘rock’ appears on the song titles of AC/DC’s 2015 ‘Rock or Bust’ album, coincidence? Well, yes, most likely.
However, numeracy isn’t the only way The Jokers are similar to AC/DC – or to Led Zeppelin, The Cult, Deep Purple, The Who, and so on and so forth. The Jokers take classic rock to heart, the result of which is an album that lives, breathes and sweats the genre. That’s not to say there’s not a little bit of blues and a well-placed power ballad – and I mean that in the most rock ‘n’ roll way, of course.
The album opens with ‘Run 4 Cover’, with an introduction that’s as breezy and psychedelic as they come. 30 seconds in, and you’re smacked with a heavy rock rhythm, thick bass from Martyn Byrne paired with Paul Hurst’s guitar. The whole thing is reminiscent of The Who’s storytelling, mixed with a Twisted Sister, anthem-like chorus. ‘Hurricane’ is next, with its blues-y undertones and undeniably sassy, crank-up-the-volume power.
‘Her Word is Love’ comes in with acoustic guitar, Dan Evans’ drum skills accentuating the melodic voice of Wane Parry – before the whole thing takes a blues-rock turn and the electric guitars take the lead. A sensual track that fades out right before it gets repetitive, ‘Her Word is Love’ shows the band’s softer side – but not compared to ‘Summertime’, which embodies the word.
“Thank you for the seat beside your fire,” sings Parry, with gentle acoustic guitar, conjuring up all those summertime feelings (which I’m guessing was the point). A beautiful track, ‘Summertime’ halts the stomping pace of the album, before it’s slowly picked back up with the hazy love song, ‘Angel’. Bringing back the drive and balls-out rock is ‘Lockdown’, a meaty blues track that’ll easily work its way into any rock compilation for those long car journeys. On other hand, ‘Dream’ is a darker, much more melodic and ethereal track.
“Sometimes I get lost/can’t get out of this dream” sings Parry, before the track slips from acoustic guitars into full-blown power ballad.
And what about those four tracks with ‘rock’ in them? Well, ‘Rockerman’ shows off slow, soulful vocals, where ‘Dr. Rock Head’ has all the guitar-shredding, lyric-spitting, Motley-Crue bad-assery you could want. ‘Let it Rock’ is your standard rock anthem, while ‘Rock n Roll is Alive’ is filled with upbeat rhythms and adrenaline-pumping percussion.
The Jokers are a rock ‘n’ roll band that aren’t trying to be anything else – and if that’s what you’re into, you’ll love ‘Hurricane’.