The Static Jacks might not have the best band name of the year (Shark?), but they certainly have the most fitting. Their jittery drums and jangly guitars remind me of the Walkmen’s “The Rat,” and that speed and tension runs through almost every song on their first full length. I like to imagine they could be a fantastic punk band if they didn’t know how to play their instruments so well. Thankfully they do, filling up the disk with more than enough energy and hooks to go around.
From the handclaps and group stomps that start the album within opener “Defend Rosie,” it’s easy to tell that this was incredibly fun to make for the Jacks. The song takes off into a barrage of garage rock that is a fine introduction for anyone who hasn’t heard the band before. My only real complaint is that the first three songs seem to blend together when you’re not paying attention, though this is only because they’re all fantastic, catchy, and happen to hover at the same tempo. If they didn’t slow it down, the whole album might pass by in a furious rush. Thankfully, “My Parents Lied” explodes into a Cold War Kids shuffle and completely recaptures your attention if you were naïve enough to let it drift.
Lead singer Ian Devaney gives more than a nod to obvious inspirer Morissey during the course of the album, and apes him so well on ”Sonata (Maybe We Can Work It Out)“ that it could be hard to tell the difference between the two. Not that this is something to gripe about, as the song is a modern take on everything that made the Smiths amazing, and acts as a fine update to that sound. Other songs on the album feature more of Devaney’s barking thoughts on love and heartbreak, and he even makes a pretty solid case for being forced to dance at some point with ballad “This Is Me Dancing.” All in all, the band ends up in a nice place between the anxiety slash insanity of Funeral Party and the simple catchiness of the Vaccines, and ends up being more gutsy than both. Being that the Static Jacks have set the bar so high for themselves, we’ll have to wait and see what they come up with next. I imagine it’ll be just as good.
The Static Jacks – The Waltz (I really wish they would rerecord this song)