Travelin Jack – “Commencing Countdown” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Alia Spaceface. Flo The Fly. Steve Burner. Montgomery Shell. Okaaaaaaaay, so what do we have here? Hot footin’ it out of the avant garde capital of the world – Berlin – Travelin Jack look like they’ve taken a time warp back to the early 70s to groove it out with Bowie and Bolan. But listen a little closer, and you’ll soon realize this is no mere retro fantasy courtesy of mom’s make up set, but a modern hard rock sourced from legends like Purple, early Scorpions, Rush and Thin Lizzy! Led by the power larynx of she woman Alia who ably mixes sultriness into her tones, Flo Kraemer’s cool guitar soon hits the soft spot with honest and ballsy hard rock riffs, along with an restrained spirit inherent in his solos. Completed by a solid boogie rhythm held together by Burner and Shell, the 10 tracks on this sophomore pretty much cover all the styles definitive of that period of the 70s with both passion and authenticity. From the funky, groove-tastic ‘Keep On Running’ with Alia’s sassy vocals to its rock out chorus and definite hard rock resonating through your spine to the epic hard rock of ‘Cold Blood’ when the power definitely gets switched on there are no disappointments here – especially when Kraemer’s metallic solo takes it far off world! Elsewhere like on ‘Galactic Blue’ there’s a nice injection of stoner and on ‘What Have I Done’ even a hint of the blues along with some church organ adding to the quiet atmosphere. Best of all for me was epic closer ‘Journey To The Moon’ with its solid hard rock riffs and hugely catchy melodies, drum rolls and Alia’s deep, powerful tones – excellent! A very impressive release indeed and if the title’s anything to go by, we’ll be hearing a lot more from this talented band indeed.