Love them or hate them, you cannot deny that Jackyl is a unique band. Fronted by the always entertaining Jesse James Dupree, these guys have been rocking hard since releasing their 1992 debut record. Crass, eccentric, politically incorrect, and everything in between, these guys made a name for themselves and definitely left an impact on those that listened to them. While often lumped in with the “hair/glam scene” they really had next to nothing in common with this kind of music, drawing their influence from other places. They are also about the only band on the face of the globe to utilize a chainsaw as a musical instrument (for the newbies out there, I am NOT making that up!)
Jackyl has survived and endured for a quarter century now. Scheduled for release on August 5, 2016, ROWYCO will be the eighth studio album from the group, released on Mighty Loud Records. In interviews, Dupree has claimed that this album would be the band’s most “personal” from a lyrical standpoint. Over the years, the group has released several albums, though their 1992 debut has always remained the main focal point and favorite of many a fan, old and new alike.
Admittedly, I myself have not heard every single Jackyl album ever released, but I was eager to hear the new release from the band nonetheless. Dupree’s words regarding the album’s impending release are certainly bold, but does the album deliver from that standpoint? Does it retain the band’s signature sense of crude, politically incorrect humor? And perhaps most importantly of all, is it any good?
ROWYCO is more modern in sound than other Jackyl releases of the past, but it is still undeniably Jackyl. If you were a fan of the band’s past work, this is one of their strongest releases in years, if not their best work since the 1990s. If you are not a fan it is not an album likely to change your mind, for better or for worse. There is more mature songwriting, but all of the dirty jokes and profanity are on display throughout the release. It stands as a diverse effort, though those wanting to hear a chainsaw may be disappointed in that regard. Dupree is still the star of the show, singing the songs in a vocal style clearly influenced by AC/DC’s Brian Johnson (who has actually guested on Jackyl recordings in the past). Personally, this fan is glad to see that Jackyl does not take the coward's way out and try to remake their debut with each and every new album. Results have been hit and miss on some prior efforts, but the raunchy southern hard rock rockers that taught us to expect the unexpected certainly stay true to that mantra here, and strike gold on more than a few tracks. This fan likes to rock hard and to laugh, and I did plenty of both both while giving ROWYCO a listen.
Jackyl is unique and remains the same band at heart they have always been, fusing hard, blues-infused rock with a patented sense of humor and raunchy style that their peers could never replicate. The result here is that this is a solid release from a criminally overlooked band that deserves a second look. If you are not a fan, it is unlikely ROWYCO will change your mind, but this longtime lover of the debut record saw this as the best release the group put out in years. Strongly recommended!