Rock And Roll Saved Our Lives...But Now It's Trying To Kill Us!
Released on November 11, 2005
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The idea of a musical autobiography from a punk rock band could be abhorrent, if you took shit seriously, but with the Jack Saints it somehow fits. Simple reason is they're one of the most self-deprecating bands on the planet. What's more, you can bet all the stories on "Rock and Roll Saves Our Lives..." are true. Would these guys embellish the truth? Naaaaaaah. The CD slick tells the tale: "In 1995, the Jack Saints moved from Palm Springs, California, to San Francisco in the hope of finding jobs, prosperity and a new outlook on life...instead they found drug addiction, alcohol abuse and wayward women. This is their story."
So it's been a weird and wonderful ride. Along the way, guitarist-vocalist Mike Desert and bassist Nick Nava lost drummer Regal (named after his favourite strip club) and picked up Bill Randt from the New Bomb Turks. They also lost and found (in no particular order) jobs, wives, girlfriends, horror movie obsessions, nosebleeds, hangovers, headspins and god knows what else, accumulating a stack of stories and a don't-give-a-fuck attitude, although the latter probably was a pre-existiing condition.
The Jack Saints might feel comfortable cultivating the aura of perennial rock and roll losers but we're the winners with this, only their second but easily best album. The playing is tight and ill-mannered, the songs sharp as the smell of rotting prawns on a Fisherman's Wharf table in the sun (couldn't bring myself to use the word "shrimp"). Not two-chord blurs but rock and roll, played fast. Most of them clock in at about a minute-and-a-half so if you don't take a shine to one there's another along very soon. Over the course of one silver disc they manage to jam in 20 songs, all but three of which are their own work.The thematic nature/trash ethos of the album is maintained with snatches of dialogue from movies between tracks and rather than the cheap device that it can be, it works a treat. With titles like "Nightmares in a Damaged Brain", "Generation Gangbang", "Cockblocked" (a move in which one female in a group repels all would-be boarders, if you have to ask) and "Underqualified for Life" you can work out which side of the irony street these guys are working. They might be punks but the Jack Saints have their melodic moments; "Radioactive" is a sweetly out-of-control ride while their Warren Zevon cover "Even a Dog Can Shake Hands" (a hidden track) is one of the best things I've heard in weeks. Nick Nava's propulsive bass is a key factor in why it's so good (said at risk of being accused of boosting a mate - but it's true), while Mike Desert's guitarwork is economic and biting. The pair share some of the vocal duties and make a good fist of things without approaching operatic status.
Hard to believe it's only Album Number Two after 13 years, but there have been a shitload of singles, split singles and compilation contributions. Contrary to rumours, the Jacks Saints are still a going concern (Nick's also playing with SF band the McCools) and a European tour is apparently in the offing. Ya gotta wonder why it took an Italian label to release a US band, but full credit to them. They're done the hard work. No all you have to do is grab a copy!!!