Somewhere, in some parallel universe, there’s a man called Danko Jones who is the King of Planet Rock. Somewhere in between Lemmy and Lynott, and more rock n roll than Keith Richards’ boxers, he spits anthems, he lives and breathes music, and he writes songs that strut, swagger, and are the melodic personification of all that’s ever been ace about life (not just music).
This man, this Danko Jones, isn’t playing his shows with people’s gear behind him, perched on the front of the stage. Nope, this Danko Jones is in some arena, with 20,000 people shouting the choruses at him.
Meanwhile on earth. The real Danko Jones (and both the man and the band that carries his name) does most of these things and carries like he’s being watched by 20,000 anyway.
For 25 years, the man from Canada has released albums (by my count “Power Trio” is his tenth) and they’ve all been brilliant. And brilliant on his own terms.
You know what you’re gonna get with Danko Jones and that – basically – is the purest, most hedonistic rock n roll that you’ll find anywhere. Songs like “I Want Out” (and when he sings “and with you riding shotgun, I am always home” here I am pretty sure that his passenger is music) are as good as it gets.
The beauty is in the simplicity. “Good Lookin’” probably isn’t going to win the Nobel Prize for literature, but you know what? It sounds like the dogs’ danglers coming through your speakers – and try and resist the thing. Go on.
“Saturday” actually turns down a night out. Do not fret, though, it only wants a shag instead. The interesting thing about DJ and the DJ band is this: They don’t do anything special, they are just really special at doing it. “Ship Of Lies” crunches for example. And you can sing it after about 35 seconds. The band – and this is a band – have a proper chemistry, and a gift.
All of which means that “Raise Some Hell” is almost his mission statement Dreaming of the day, I suppose, when the war is won, as it were. “Blue Jean Denim Jumpsuit” ploughs through some Clutch type sounds – Mr Fallon would be happy with the melody for sure – “Get To You” adds a little more metal, and the way it rhymes “fire” with “required” is a genuine thing of beauty.
In truth there’s nothing here that dips. Nothing that doesn’t shimmer like a glitter ball, but even allowing for that, “Dangerous Kiss” and “Lets Rock Together” do deserve some special praise for being so unapologetic in their aims. Essentially it aims to be cooler than your band. And is. Sorted.
The last two are the album in microcosm. “Flaunt It” is the most positive thing known to man. And also manages to sound exactly like a Danko Jones song with that name should, brothers and sisters, while the very last one, “Start The Show” was supposed to be the first one, but got switched. That’s cool, because not only is it the best track here, Phil Campbell plays on it. So, shut up, basically until you can get Phil Campbell to play on your album.
I’d nearly got through this without saying the word “pandemic”, but not quite. It was written last year, with the band members in separate places. Not only does it sound as convivial as Danko’s songs always do, it sounds like the soundtrack the world needs as it emerges from the gloom.
“Power Trio” then: the work of arguably the best power trio in the world today.