EP REVIEW: Jackslacks - Farm Jazz
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Shield of Love
Genre: Americana, Rockabilly, Psychedelic Jam Band
Sounds Like: The Beatles, The Monkeys, John Mayer, Deep Blue Something, Dave Matthews Band
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Short sided EP, EP release, CD materials
NOTE: 10 star rating are reserved only for Full Length CD's.
San Diego based Americana roots-rocker Jackslacks is back with his sixth release Farm Jazz out on the indie label Shield of Love. Collaborating this time around with San Diego State University jazz prodigies, Eric Hutchinson, Dave Votel and Alejandro Aste-Nieto, the new tracks were produced by Mike Kamoo and Jacklslacks at Earthling Studios in El Cajon, CA. Band members include Jackslacks (lead vocals, drums), Eric Hutchinson (Guitars), Dave Votel (Bass), (Alejandro Aste-Nieto (Piano, Organ).
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with "Generations Hypnotized” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Americana groove meshed against thought provoking lyrical content and effective harmonies from these 4. Track 2 “Don’t Mind Me” keeps things moving in the right direction with earthy flute driven intro against steady flowing rhythm, well placed acoustic guitar chops painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. The EP makes a great first impression dashing out 2 catchy songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Rockabilly, Americana, with brief touches of Earthy Folk, even Saloon Jazz, R&B to Psychedelic Jam Band of the 70’s. Music is reminiscent of classic Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Monkeys, John Mayer and even Jason Mraz to Dave Matthews to Deep Blue Something. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive rhythm guitar and solid guitar solos, impressive Organ, Slide Guitar, and Keyboards, lush harmonies layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Jackslacks - as for the Jackslacks's vocal abilities well he’s a great advent. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. At times he really reminds me of combination of Paul McCartney and Les Claypool behind the mic. I might add he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting. This EP from Jackslacks delivers 2 rock solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of these 4 has everything you would expect from a world class musical production.
EP is a bit shot with just 2 tracks. I Would recommend at least 3-5 tracks for a fully loaded EP. I also typically don't give 10 star ratings out to EP releases. The Full Length release is a more complete snapshot to judge an artists by at any given time. The actual CD material is not made of professional Silk Screen material. some of the aforementioned issues are not typical of a pro-caliber EP release.
From start to finish Farm Jazz by Jackslacks is a rock solid musical teaser. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of these 4 is rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred Rockabilly-Jam Band-Rock n' Roll swagger. At the end of the day Jackslacks brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of the San Diego area. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him as this Summer unfolds.