During September, Californian roots-rock artist, Jackslacks, released a brand new 3-song concept EP, entitled “Invisible”. “Lyrically, this new music is a throwback to the ‘concept’ albums, most popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s,” says Jackslacks, in that the sequence of songs “emphasizes a continuous theme and story line.” The EP narrates the story of “a seasoned, experienced man contemplating his own mortality. He wanders through life, and genuinely, searches for a way to beat the inevitable, corporal demise.” His continued struggles carries on until he is much older, “finally becoming ostracized and for all practical purposes, invisible.”
Jackslacks, to me, doesn’t just write groovy music or clever lyrics as much as he conjures up a gateway to somewhere far more esoterically romantic or beautifully tragic. I knew this EP had the potential to be good, but I never imagined it would be this great. I’ve been a huge Jackslacks fan since I reviewed “Other Side” in 2014. The new EP, again, strips away the electronic excess so often found in modern music and just strums and grooves away with the organic sounding stuff – slide guitars, upright basses, harmonicas, and pianos, plus pretty melodies and great songwriting.
On “Invisible”, Jackslacks and his band-mates do what they do best: they create stories that tread the fine line between musical brilliance and lyrical wizardry. However, they achieve this by putting aside complexity to focus on tight songwriting and stellar arrangements, forged with solid performances. Throughout, Jackslacks and cohorts, walk a remarkable tightrope. Their music is quirky without being obtuse, literate without being pretentious, catchy with being cloying. It’s got that overall rockabilly groove, but at the same time it reserves an alternative edge.
On first listen you’ll be caught up in the intoxicating rhythms and sweet harmonies of “Your Time Has Come”, “Back In The Mix” and “Invisible”. And only on subsequent hearings, will you appreciate the lyrical depth of the storylines. This is due to the fact that Jackslacks wraps the bitter facts inside a sweet cotton candy covering, in each song, reflecting the themes of death and ageing exactly as society treats them. Clearly, “Invisible” is not simple barn-stomping music, but food for some serious thought…that you can swing and groove to, obviously!
Credits: Jackslacks – lead vocals drums and percussion, Johnny Mercury – electric lead & rhythm guitars, Chris Cote – acoustic/electric & slide guitars, Eric Hutchinson – acoustic/electric guitars & backing vocals, Dave Votel – upright bass & backing vocals, Anthony Stevens – piano & backing vocals, Bill Giorgio – harmonica, Billy Bacon – backing vocals, Christine Lunaire – backing vocals, Bill Grubbs – backing vocals.
Recorded by Mike Kamoo at Earthling Studios San Diego, CA. Produced by Jackslacks.