Written By: Alexandra Hoover
J.A.C.K. might make fun of themselves –especially with songs like “I Cut off My Arm” and “Dracula”—but they do so with intentional and edgy irony. With a name like J.A.C.K., the title of the band must really mean something—right?
J.A.C.K.’s far-flung, raucous melodies and Black-Sabbath-inspired, raging guitar is reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. If you ask any of the band members who they are named after—“What does J.A.C.K. mean, anyway?”—they will tell you “It means a lot.” In other words, it means “nothing.”
Hey, I’m taking it straight from their mouths! No, they do not derive their inspiration from the Nightmare Before Christmas Jack. Both might be bizarre and macabre, but J.A.CK.—not Jack–is far from Hot Topic merchandise.
Although the band veers on a kind of wacky ghoulishness, their chaffing vocals and strong tempo enforce their legitimacy. Without being absurd, the band incorporates outrageous themes of vampires, amputated arms, and bloody rainbows. It’s great to hear a reference to–but not a knock-off of—retired Black Sabbath and Silverchair riffs. Don’t get me wrong, this band is original. They are not uncomfortable venturing out of their nests to experiment with gypsy-like vocals and noise rock timbres (i.e., the song “Vanilla.”)
Banshee-like wails of the lead guitar–along with Scott Holland’s searing vocals—provide a foil for the music’s yielding and emotional undertones. The guys—Chris, JP, Scott, and Jim—have an uncanny sensibility for slow, soft intros that culminate into furious—though melodic—crags of intensity. Songs like “Rainbow Blood” and “Summer’s War” will help listeners complete any mourning they have been unable to finish.