Review: Small Jackets ‘Just Like This!’

With Go Down Records you’re usually guaranteed something fun, energizing, even occasionally trippy, and seeing as Small Jackets are on their roster, I decided to take the plunge with this Italian quartet. Forming back in 2000, they comprise of Mark Oak – lead vocals, bass, Eddy Current – lead guitar, acoustic guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals plus lead vocals on The Jail, Danny Savanas – drums, percussion, backing vocals, and Phil Baychans – lead guitar, backing vocals.

Small Jackets 'Just Like This!'

Just Like This! is the band’s fifth album and their first since 2013’s not so imaginably titled IV. The promo-notes state that ‘each of the nine new tracks drips with the refreshing excitement and sheer passion of four mates who are having the time of their lives moulding their characteristic and ever-evolving brand of rock and roll’, sounds promising.

Midnight Town kicks off the album in fine fashion with some high-octane ass-kicking rock ’n’ roll which will definitely please fans of Nashville Pussy and The Hellacopters. It arrests your attention from the off so much that you’ll be cracking a broad smile throughout. Getting Higher is funkier and lays down some thick grooves and there were times when I was reminded of early Red Hot Chilli Peppers and the gang choruses they employed on tracks such as Higher Ground.

Next Level was the preview track that sold me on the idea of reviewing the album, imagine if you will Led Zeppelin and Foghat having a baby, with a Joe Walsh era James Gang influence present too, never a bad thing. There are alas shades of Def Leppard particularly with Joe Elliott’s gravelly vocals coming to the fore, but if you can overlook this, you’re still left with a belting tune. Breakin’ The Line isn’t far removed from the kind of tune you’d have heard in the late 80s and soundwise reminds one of  TSOL when they made the disastrous decision to go down The Cult/Guns ‘N’ Roses route. However here it features much better songwriting and without the obvious baggage of a hardcore punk/death-rock past.

high-octane ass-kicking rock ’n’ roll which will definitely please fans of Nashville Pussy and The Hellacopters…

Funky Crunchy Woman, despite its silly title, features some pretty cool bass and will have you on your feet faster than a politician due to submit their expenses. The Jail curiously has an Electric Six vibe in the vein of tracks like Gay Bar and Danger! High Voltage, making it an oddity that doesn’t seem to fit the album, but is pretty good regardless. Movin’ On gets us back on track and has you thinking of Corrosion of Conformity offshoot Leadfoot and their dusty Southern fried vibes. Hell, it even features a honky tonk piano and one could imagine this number going down well in any number of bars in the southern parts of the US.

Get Out Of My Way is an anthemic singalong number that will have you punching your fists in the air and screaming your lungs out while Celebrate burns away slowly in a bluesy psych manner. The track is surprisingly soulful and even has a laid-back cool jazz vibe that one may associate with Sade. A wonderful way to conclude the album.

This is the kind of record that is suited for those moments when I fancy something unfussy and outright entertaining, thus can be filed in the same category as bands such as AC/DC, Motörhead and the aforementioned The Hellacopters. Although I doubt it will feature regularly in my playlist, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a damn good time jamming it on those occasions when it does. Fun with a capital F.

Label: Go Down Records
Band Links: Facebook | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills