Released on June 4, 2012 (Spinefarm Records)
02. Raining Rock
03. Less Torque, More Thrust
04. Prison Of Love
06. Black Gold
07. Something About This Girl
10. Never Gonna Give Up
11. In-Between Lovers
12. Side Of The Road
13. The Sweet And The Brave
14. Raining Rock (featuring Udo Dirkschneider)
Japanese Bonus Tracks:
15. Feel The Love
Will Stapleton – vocals and guitar
Jon Dow – vocals and guitar
Tom Wright – bass
Matt Oliver – drums
Udo Dirkschneider – vocals (14)
Produced by Jettblack and Dan Weller.
A quartet from the rural town of High Wycombe in Bucks, Jettblack are brash, bold and have no bones about their struggle to fund their lives as musicians. Their first album, Get Your Hands Dirty, was an in-your-face mash-up of stadium rock released in 2010 and since then they’ve toured with counterparts Airbourne, Grinspoon and Heaven’s Basement and have also supported Papa Roach.
2012 is a big year for Jettblack — not only have they released their second studio album, but they’re also embarking on their first tour as solo headliners in October. So, should you go? Well, they do put on a good show, I can tell you that. And it’s a pleasure to see a band where two guitarists/vocalists manage to both perform to a high standard without cluttering the stage. The album though… well, you can’t have everything.
The “Intro” is well-produced but pointless before we move into the title track. “Raining Rock”, dare I say it, echoes elements of Spinal Tap with its weather-themed lyrics and simple, predictable riffs. It’s all a bit over-produced, even in this day and age. The latest single “Prison Of Love” is much better — softer and sexier to begin with, but these boys just can’t resist a heavy track. That’s not a bad thing, not even here, but there’s too much focus on the drums and while there are some great elements, they’re trying to cram too much in. “Black Gold” was the special gem I was hoping I’d find — OK, 7 minutes is too long, no matter how good the song is, but it’s darker and more melodic without becoming soppier. The vocals command more authority, sounding more mature, and the band seems to have more direction.
“Something About This Girl” and “Sunshine” had a lot to live up to but using less-conventional rhythms than Jettblack are used to, gave them that edge and the richer melodies were just what this album needed. At points though, more so than the debut album, the sound becomes a mesh of high-treble instruments and shouting vocals, and the songs undistinguishable — simply put, unpleasant and dull. “Temptation” dealt well with this, taking the vocals higher and with a more prominent bass. “Never Gonna Give It Up” put the band in more uncharted territory with a touch of Stryper-style cheese and by the next track they were trying to kick in with the attitude again. “The Sweet And The Brave” was one of the weaker tracks — the strummed guitar and more emotional vocals did nothing to hold it up. The refrain of “Raining Rock”, if you can call it that and not just a repeat, was unnecessary, seeing as it wasn’t one of the strongest songs.
I noticed that all four members are credited in writing all the songs on Raining Rock, and perhaps developing a tighter writing team might help produce some catchier, more special songs. Overall, Raining Rock stands up to their debut, maybe even edging ahead slightly in places, but it’s not a knockout punch.
Reviewed by JJ Lee for Sleaze Roxx, September 2012