Exploding into an unsuspecting world with their revved up debut “Born A Lion” in 2002, Danko Jones sounded fresh and exciting but with a clear maturity evident in the bluesy roots that underpinned the crashing bombast. Having been around for six years before their debut album proper was released, the Ontario three piece had toured relentlessly, honed their craft well, and self-released some well-received EPs.
Producing albums of consistently high quality over the years has meant that the bar remains high – as do the fans’ expectations – every time a new release nears. With this latest offering there is not a shred of disappointment and plenty to please longtime aficionados as well as anyone new to their particular brand of hard rock.
Opener ‘Terrified’ sets the tone well, with sharp, insistent riffing and a blunt attitude which is all pulled together by Danko‘s whiskey-smooth vocals. The man can croon with the best or wail like Hendrix in full flow, but every single note sounds like it’s sung from his heart – or possibly his balls. His voice still possesses that warm quality that connects with the listener and really conveys every word with an authenticity that is part showman and part angry young punk. It’s Dave Lee Roth, Blaze Bayley, Zodiac Mindwarp and Henry Rollins all rolled into one.
‘Legs’ has a riff so gratingly catchy it will be buzzing around inside your head long after the album has finished. ‘Type Of Girl’ possesses a swagger reminiscent of early Thin Lizzy and ‘Don’t Do This’ has a massive singalong chorus that calls to mind the Wildhearts at their filthy best. ‘Conceited’ is packed with melodies and buzzsaw guitar and the slow burn of ‘Don’t Do This’ is going to be a real crowd mover when they play it live.
Danko Jones reminds me of Warrior Soul a lot of the time – not so much in terms of the sound but in terms of the attitude. There are party songs, love songs, regret songs and protest songs but none seem out of place when placed side by side. It’s tuneful and bombastic, but visceral and frenetic.
I have to confess to never having seen them live, but yet another cracking album reminds me what a fool I am and how much I need to get my arse down the front next time they hit the UK.