When I heard Jack Russell’s Great White would be releasing their debut album, I was beyond excited. Finally, new music from the great Jack Russell! Yes, there is still Great White, but really Jack Russell is the voice of Great White. The music just isn’t the same if he is not the one singing it. This album is proof that he has got a great band behind him, consisting of Robby Lochner (guitar), Dan McNay (bass), Dicki Fliszar (drums), and Tony Montana (guitar, keyboards).
The beginning of the first track, “Sign of the Times,” starts off with soft guitar picking melody and vocals, with the tempo picking up with the rest of the band falling in and Jack Russell’s voice hitting that same familiar tone. His voice has matured over the years and from listening to this release, so has his song writing skills, however, you still know that tone anywhere. The grit, the vocal range, the characteristic way he hits high notes is all still there.
The next song, “She Moves Me,” has a very groovy sounding vibe to it. The bass, played by Dan McNay, rings through very strong, helping give it a groovy jazz/blues sound and feel. The point in the song where Jack sings, “bitten once, bitten twice” made me chuckle as I felt it may have been in reference to Great White’s most famous song we all remember. This song honestly is very different than anything I think ever would have been recorded with Great White back in the day. It is not the only surprise on this album, however.
Coming in “fun” and living up to the name is “Crazy.” This is definitely a more characteristic Great White song, talking about a crazy but sexy woman. The track is very upbeat and entertaining, one that makes you want to bounce around while listening to it. It was definitely hard to hold still listening to this one. I can easily see this song being an exciting one to play and see live.
The upbeat ballad of the album, “Love Don’t Live Here,” has really great guitar riffs. Jack reminds you how low and sultry he can get his voice to go along with his characteristic high notes. The guitar solo is very gripping, pulling right at your soul as it sucks you further into the song and, subsequently, the album as a whole.
“Anything For You” starts out crackling, as if it is playing from a jukebox or record player giving it a very nostalgic feeling. The solo, subdued and sweet, much like the rest of the song. Jack’s voice can stand on its own so well as when all of the instruments stop and he sings a line with just his voice being the music. The melodies of the band backing up Jack’s vocals make you want to sway back and forth to this song as you get lost in the sound.
The title track of the album, “He Saw it Comin,” gives off a sort of come-back, fight song. “You say my time is over. You look at me and shake your head. You say I’ve had my day.” These lyrics seem to function to incite annoyance and anger at those who talk down to you. Then Jack comes back saying he has fallen a thousand times but got back up a thousand times as well. There is a message I seemed to get from the song, which is you have to fight for what you want and want to do, let nothing stand in your way and never stop until you achieve your goal.
“Blame it on the Night” brings the music back to 1980s Sunset Strip sound and theme. The rhythm guitar sound and riffs of the lead guitar as well as the tempo of the song is “Classic 80s”. (losing another warrant reference). It’s very catchy and easily stuck in my head. The solo is very powerful and skilled while it goes along with the flow of the song. This song is honestly one of my favorites of the album. The melodic tone to Jack’s voice is very well complimented by the harmonies of the rest of the band.
The final track of the album, “Godspeed,” has such a 1930s rock-pop, barbershop sound and vibe. It is a very bubble-gum sound that makes you want to bop and bounce around. It’s different and the biggest surprise of the album to say the least, yet they make it work very well. Jack Russell had talked about going to a place where he hasn’t gone before when referring to the making of this album. There isn’t even any instruments playing throughout the song! It’s all a capella. Just the band’s vocalizations and finger-snaps. I don’t know what makes it more catchy, the phrases themselves “I want you love. I need your love. Godspeed your love,” or the fact that it is barbershop-esque. Barbershop songs were usually designed to be catchy. Nonetheless it is an interesting way to end the album.
Overall this album exceeded expectations, which were already high considering who it was coming from. I have seen Jack Russell live several times and he sounds the same on stage as he does on his albums and sounds as strong as ever. This is a great first debut for his band and I hope to see more from them in the future. I definitely want him to play some of the songs off of the album in his upcoming shows as there are quite a few that would be great live. Any fans of the original Great White should (lose 2nd definitely – stop repeating words like that in the same paragraph) enjoy this album as it still has very much the same Great White vibe to it but with more elements added that make it a little more diverse and fun overall.
Standout Tracks: “Blame it on the Night,” “Love Don’t Live Here,” “Sign of the Times,” “Crazy”