Danko Jones – “Wild Cat” (AFM Records)
Probably Canada’s most popular alt hard rock band, Danko Jones have built an international reputation over 20 years through chart hitting albums and being a regular name across the European festival circuit where I’ve seen them entertain time and again. Gotta admit though, the music didn’t exactly grab my old balls even though their funky get up n go rock n roll certainly got the crowds moving. But when I heard that they’d signed to German power / heavy metal AFM, I did wonder what was going on. Things got progressively worse as I saw the cover – resembling ‘that’ Sabbath album (yeah, you know the one) – and finally heard the name – “Wildcat”. To an old Tygers Of Pan Tang fan like me that seemed almost sacrilegious! Had Danko Jones gone too far? Well, no – cos “Wild Cat” is one helluva album – with balls! Danko Jones, the frontman guitarist, has done the right thing here to go with a heavy label to put out the heavy material here, most of which has a 70s hard rock tinge – just check out ‘You Are My Woman’ and I’m sure Ricky Warwick and the Black Star Riders might be doing a double take (before calling their lawyers ha ha) cos it’s got Thin Lizzy written all over it. Elsewhere, Jones does what I always wished Lenny Kravitz would’ve done – mix the sex with some meat – which he does orgasmically on ‘Success In Bed’ through lyrics like ‘….come over here babaaay, and let me love you like a man can….don’t stress, undress, and I’ll take the lead’ complete with some deep n down throbbing bass for good measure heh heh! Although no Barry White, Jones’s vocals are like a lightweight Danzig, so more than croonish enough to add even more sax to the sex and it works even more on the harder, punching rockers like ‘Revolution (But Then We Make Love)’ when he roars ‘…you wanna burn the earth to the ground!..’ amid funky guitar and hip swanking bass that Glenn Hughes would happily nod in approval of. With all the sultriness abound, there’s gotta be a climax and it’s no better than on the Motorhead-ish rapid fire rocker ‘Let’s Start Dancing’ which is non stop bopper with machine gun rap vocals, earth shaking bass and a monster cowbell before a wild, Phil Campbell snake rattle n roll solo fires in to light it up to amphetamine levels of punk rock – awesome! With plenty of live reach across the 11 catchy tracks to cement their live success story, Danko Jones have also respectably widened their appeal on this excellent 8th album to get the attention of the heavies out there too.