As most of us that follow current hard rock, nearly everything good lately comes out of Scandinavia and Sweden’s own Dust Bowl Jokies is no exception. Dust Bowl Jokies have put together a super catchy album on their self-titled second album. The band sounds and looks like they came straight out of the late eighties –early nineties party rock scene. Dust Bowl Jokies are all decked out in the western rocker look that was all the rave with bands like Faster Pussycat, LA Guns, and Cinderella. Their sound also echoes those same influences who all adopted that look and sound on their second albums as well. (Maybe it’s a trend…) I also hear tinges of fellow Scandinavian rockers, Hanoi Rocks, and one of my favorite bands that was my first exposure to the “cowpunk” sound, Denmark’s D-A-D.
I love every track on this album. I find myself listening to it over and over again. The first track, “Mama Cocha”, starts with vocalist, Alexx, singing over a cool drum groove before kicking into the rest of the song. This song has a great sleaze rock groove. The only oddity about the track is that I can’t figure out why it’s titled “Mama Cocha”, the title is never mentioned in track from what I can tell. This is always a quirky hang up I have about titles of tracks but that’s my problem! This happens again on the second track,“The Moon Hanger Grove”. They don’t mention the name of the track in that song as well. Another great song, though. Really cool riff and catchy chorus.
As I mentioned at the beginning of my review, Dust Bowl Jokies embrace the whole western rocker sound of the late eighties and the third track, “Borderlands”, is one of the biggest examples of that. The track starts out with gang vocals and kick drum moving into Alexx’s vocals & a bluesy guitar then kicks into the song. The chorus has a cool sounding scream that reminds me of half of Plant’s “Valhalla” call in Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”. Next up is the oddball of the album, “Old Fashioned Country Canvas”. This track jumps out with a saxophone intro reminiscent of Michael Monroe. The sax is featured prominently on the track. The track has a poppy feel but still works with the flow of the album. Alexx also plays with the phrasing of the title in the chorus in a way that reminds me of Taime Downe of Faster Pussycat or Steven Tyler. After that is one of my favorite tracks on the album, “Pink Flamingos”. The track leads off with Freddan, the bassist, laying down a great groove. I really have no idea why the track is titled “Pink Flamingos” but I just love how the song sounds. The track brings in some cool horns and the track breaks down to just Alexx and Action’s drums for the verses then jumps into the whole band in the bridge through the chorus.
My favorite track of the album is “Rawbone”. This track is the height of the western rock sound of the album stripped down to just vocals, acoustic guitars, and harmonica. The delivery is solid and confident. This leads into another track, “Bad Juju”. “Bad Juju”, has a really catchy chorus with a really awesome riff. I’m sure this track would be great live with the gang vocals and the build into the chorus. “Hogs N Heifers” is the next track and it’s another solid track but I really don’t know what it’s about lyrically. If there was a filler track, this one might be the weakest, but it still sounds great. The band goes back to the western rock on the penultimate track, “Sons of the Sun”. The track is a slower song that builds nicely bringing in horns with a spaghetti western flare.
The closer is a huge stand out track, “Lulu”, which is the big single for the launch of the album. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the big intended single of the album be the album closer but it really left a strong impression on me as the capper of the album. Every time I make it to the end of the album, I want to start it up again. That might have to do with having such a strong song at the end of the album.
I was pleasantly surprised with the level of quality these guys have achieved on this album. There are some many great, hooky tracks. The album has an old school feel with fresh modern production. Dust Bowl Jokies is definitely been one of the most fun albums I’ve heard this year.