Artist: Blackjack
   Title: I Told You
   Label: Independent Release

Taking an often used term from the football world, 'Grassroots' level is just as important as the level where the elite sit pretty. It's also the same within the music scene, where the bands playing the pub/club circuit mean as much as the big hitters out there. They are all getting a chance one way or another, some grabbing it with both hands and progressing, others happy enough to make a ripple on the local scene and get enough work to keep them happy.

Local band Blackjack seem to be the type of band who are wiling to give everything they've got to push on with their aims to get recognised, and judging by their new 3 - track E.P. 'I Told You', hopefully it won't be long before they get snapped up. Formed in 2009, they began doing classic rock covers from the 70's - 80's, steadily adding their own material as time has gone on, finally releasing their debut E.P. in early 2012.  (Sorry lads, I missed that one!).  Now in March 2013, they have brought out their latest E.P. that shows how far they've come over the year, and why they are a sought after band for bike club and rock shows.

First up is the fiery 'Nowhere In Sight', it's explosive snare and guitar intro showing they mean business, and as the track rocks on like an up-to-date Judas Priest player, vocalist Ian Robertson's high-pitched screams do Rob Halford justice.  The only thing that doesn't sound quite right is the ending.  As it slows down to the finale, there seems to be a split second where it's as if the lads weren't too sure how to finish the song, picked a couple of ways, gone back to the recording and added it on, and it stands out.  Maybes it could have been left at the final flurry of guitars?

It's a case of "Ladies, get those hips a-swaying" next!  The sleazy rhthym of 'Hazey Kind Of Craze' is impossible to keep still to, in fact from the opening salvo of the drums, the band step into the world of Led Zeppelin, and all through the sharp riffs, solos and the laid back tempo, they don't return 'til the final note!

Last track 'No Debts When You're Dead' begins with a chain-gang styled chant, led by the tub-thumping footwork of drummer Davey Knott, then an almighty riff breaks the mood to bring in a fine example of classic rock, it's staggered beat bought to life by a great bass-line courtesy of James Robson that grooves it's way along.  Midway through, the tempo fires up with some deft six-string magic via James Knott and Mark Elrington, the solos soaring away for all they're worth. Robertson's vocals verge on a low growl a la Gene Simmons to the high pitched technique of Robert Plant, and it puts itself firmly in place as "best track on the E.P.".

With Blackjack, you'll be hard pushed to find a local band that puts so much into their live shows and the way they seem to enjoy themselves as they perform, which is the most appealing thing about them. Whether they want to make that next step up or not, they won't disappoint their audience in any show, so try and catch them next time they're in your area, you'll enjoy it!

Review by: Robb Baldwin

Tracklisting:

1. Nowhere In Sight
2. Hazey Kind Of Craze
3. No Debts When You're Dead

 

 

 

                   

 

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