One of the worst aspects of running a website is that folder that says ‘listen to later’ – it’s usually thick, full and sadly the one you only get to dip into occasionally as the submissions pile up. Sadly in 2015 somehow GRIMM JACK ended up in there – they should have been reviewed earlier of course. It was a name I was sure I’d heard before?
Founded 31 years ago in 1985 GRIMM JACK comes across as the bastard fathers (is that possible?) of THE THROBS and GUNS N’ ROSES: it’s that LA Sleaze meets New York cool with a dab of Blues and appreciation of the decades past that works so well.
Back in the day they had plenty of rabid fans, a decent amount of publicity and put out a few singles and EPs and even though they backed that up with some sensational live shows, sadly they never landed that major deal. Timing was everything and then Grunge hit and while the band never quit the name was put aside till 2010 when Grimm Jack co-founder Jimmie Mack began working with singer Billy Kohout with the idea of releasing material recorded several years earlier that was never made public.
To be honest to start off with we weren’t sure if ‘Thick as Thieves’ was that unreleased material or just the latest update from the band, but it sure sounded like a hungry Hard Rock band or a certain era and persuasion (as it turned out it is new material with only 3 tracks previously released). Opener ‘Rotten to the Core’ is good Sleaze Rock, damned good but with that distinct East Coast edge that is unmistakable, it’s a little like Alice Cooper met The Throbs and that’s a pretty damned cool way to start.
The rest of the album is equally as cool like the slow strutting opening then frenzied build and bluesy climax of ‘Sex Drive’; the hard rocking cool of ‘Damned’; the swing and proto rock and almost 60’s vibe of ‘She Moves Me’ (what a song!) and the Primal Scream fuzz and groove of ‘A Girl Like You’. It’s like stepping back in time to a time when anyone with an armful of ‘genre’ tags could quite rightly go fuck themselves.
As for the rest of the album – you just need to submerge yourself – it’s inspired from start to finish and even the cover of Neil Young’s ‘Ohio’ is stunningly well interpreted.
This is quality Whisky-soaked Sleaze and Roll with a distinct East Coast vibe and 60’s/70’s flavor. It is well worth checking out. For me if I hear a better album all year I’ll be both very surprised and very grateful!