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Jack of Heart

In Yer Mouth

(Born Bad; US: 8 May 2012; UK: 2 Apr 2012)

Lo-fi production sinks this effort.

Wow, this is lost opportunity. Frenchman Jack of Heart wants you to believe that he is the torch-bearer for edgy garage punk like The Stooges or Johnny Thunders’ Heartbreakers, but he forgets an important ingredient: tunes. JoH is all about the pose, with appropriately freaky album art and snappy song titles like “Baby Bitch” and “A Northern Pain in the Ass”, but his attempts at garage rock leave out the rock part. Instead we have shrill howls trying to imitate Iggy’s squeals (can’t be done, sorry) and dentist-drill guitar bashing in place of the all-important riff. The trebly, lo-fi production undermines whatever tunefulness is struggling to emerge, rendering the whole thing an exercise in headache creation. All of which is too bad, because songs like “Joh Jett III” and the aforementioned “Northern Pain” possess plenty of garagey fun buried deep under the layers of crap. Despite some promising elements—who doesn’t love fuzz guitar and farfisa?—this record, for all its noble aspirations, fails to deliver. An album that’s more fun to look at than listen to? C’est dommage!

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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