Sunday, February 5, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Jack Russell's Great White "He Saw it Comin'"

Jack Russell's
Great White
He Saw it Comin'
Frontiers Music

With so many splintered and
contentious incarnations of
former chart-busters parked
in "sludge purgatory" these
days, it's been tough for me
to muster much enthusiasm
for any of them. Until now.

Although the iconic logo points to the past, the debut record from Jack Russell's Great White sounds surprisingly fresh.

Propelled by the power, precision and finesse of the record's MVP, drummer Dicki Fliszar, He Saw it Comin' kicks off mightily with "Sign of the Times." Combining a healthy portion of classic Great White gusto with a splash of new millennium vim, it's one of the crown jewels of this 11-song set, and it makes for an enticing lead video.

Other highlights include the catchy, groove-laden "Love Don't Live Here" and "My Addiction," as well as the sweet-n-simple  "Anything for You" and the "D'yer Mak'er"-tinged "Don't Let Me Go."

The record does, however, suffer from a misstep or two (or three). "She Moves Me" proves to be an over all pop-flavored delight, but its crispety, crunchety cred is compromised by Russell's less than legit rap effort. And with its authentic, circa '91, bluesy cock rock vibe, "Crazy" feels like a comfy fit initially, but it falls victim quickly to Tufnel / St. Hubbins-inspired lyrical dopiness — She's gonna blow ya. Aw, she wants to blow ya. Yeah, she's gonna blow your mind. Oy vey.

But all in all, the news is quite good for Russell and company. He Saw it Comin' oozes delicious, razor-sharp guitar work from Tony Montana and Robby Lochner, while Russell's signature-style vocals remain in top form. The record also touts several super-highlights, including the classic Queen-caliber songwriting of the title track, the straight-up, fist-pumping "Spy vs Spy" and the musically light, yet lyrically dark, biographical "Blame it on the Night."

In sum, He Saw it Comin' boasts some of Russell's strongest work to date — making for what just might be THE feel-good rock record of the new year. (A-)

-Christopher Long
(February 2017)

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C'MON! -

(Coming April 7, 2019)

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