I’m a man of pretty varied tastes when it comes to music. Sometimes I like to chill out with something acoustic, sometimes I like to tax myself with some prog rock, sometimes I’ll stretch out of my rock and roll comfort zone with some ska or reggae even but most of the time I want to have my arse kicked into next week by some good, old fashioned, high octane, down and dirty rock and roll…and that’s pretty much exactly where Jaw Horse sit.
Jaw Horse don’t so much leave subtlety at the door, it hasn’t even made it to the front gate…in fact it’s struggling to even find their rehearsal space on Google Maps!!! Picture this, you’re in a basement, there’s a damp, musty scent in the air, a combination of poor ventilation, stale beer, weed and sweat. The only light comes from a single, dim bulb hanging over head. The walls are covered in posters of AC/DC, Sabbath, Skynyrd, Black Flag, Motorhead…etc. Most are pretty ragged round the edges and most are there to cover fist holes in the walls. In the corner sits a beaten up drum kit, sticky with sweat and beer, each cymbal cracked and distorted. The other three corners play host to amps stacked high, their vinyl covering peeling away to reveal the discoloured wood beneath. The floor is covered with a single, filthy stained carpet mostly obscured by empty bottles and ragged paper with scrawled lyrics. To one side sits a couch that has long been given its last rites but refuses to be allowed to die. Outside a rusted and groaning pick up pulls up and out step four guys. Four guys whose diets could do with trimming some fat, four guys who test their t-shirts to the limit, four guys whose debt to the denim industry is paramount, four guys who don’t own a single razor between them, four guys who are old enough to know better but also old enough to have seen both AC/DC and Black Flag. These four guys enter the room, pick up their Gibsons, drum sticks and mics and start to play!!! Play may be stretching it, no, they assault their instruments with minimal respect paying only due reverence to the history of rock, metal and punk that has brought them together. It’s loud, it smells and it rocks.
In fact none of the above may be true but one listen to this album conjures up images of backwood rednecks weaned on a diet of punk, metal, blues and classic rock. They don’t do ballads, they don’t do clean guitars, they don’t do acoustics and they don’t do keyboards. This is a band with two volume settings, loud as fuck and off. Granted there isn’t a great deal of variety on offer here. Each of the 12 tracks is delivered at maximum intensity with guitars set to grind and vocals set to growl. Sometimes they play slower, sometimes they play fast, occasionally they hit a groove but whatever they play, they pummel…hard!!!
This is an album that won’t be hailed as a cast iron classic in the year end polls, it’s not even an album that is likely to take the band beyond the clubs of their Pennsylvania homeland but if you’re in the mood to douse your mind with cheap hooch and want something that will allow you to shout, punch walls and grow facial hair this is a fine way to spend an hour or so.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall