Some bands may struggle to produce a sophomore album, as all their energies have been concentrated on getting off to a good start with a successful debut. Travelin Jack, with Commencing Countdown, have bucked that trend. Not just bucked it, mind you, but smashed it out of the park.
Commencing Countdown, out now on Steamhammer/SPV, is a diamond of a record with influences ranging from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. You get a feel for what the band may produce by just looking at the album cover and checking out the names of the band members. With Spaceface on vocals/guitar, Flo The Fly on guitar, Steve Burner on bass and Montgomery Shell on drums, I’m sure you get the idea.
As they’ve said themselves they aren’t a retro band, but just enjoy “the sound of the era when the music was really wicked”. Fortunately for us, those eras include Led Zeppelin and Rainbow.
The Zep feel is very much to the fore with opener “Land of the River”, with a groove as infectious as Ebola, but in a good way, obviously. Definitely, a late 60’s early 70’s era song, when the music was indeed “really wicked”.
The vocals of Alia Spaceface (to give her full name) are nothing short of stunning. She has range, power, melody and an edge that elevates her above your average outstanding vocalist.
Those of you who like Shakin’ Street, (Ross the Boss’s second greatest achievement) will appreciate Spaceface’s pipes, as they compare favorably to those of Fabienne Shine, especially on “Metropolis”, which ticks the late 1970’s box.
Musically, the band are absolutely top notch and fit together like they’re related. No area overpowers another, as it’s all a match made in rock heaven.
And if you want solos, look no further. There’s a proper spine-tingler on “Metropolis” and more from where that came from. No million shreds a second here, no way; they are perfectly appropriate for each song.
Variety, as they say, is the spice of life and Travelin Jack agree. There are moody groovers, fast rockers and emotional slow songs, each done to such high quality I can only stand and applaud.
If you like classic rock, you’ll love this.
If you like any rock, you’ll love this.
If you’ve got ears, you’ll love this.
Do the decent thing.