JETBOY – Born To Fly

Filed under “Didn’t make it then, won’t make it now!” I know, a bit harsh but the fact is, Jetboy were one of those American Sleaze-Glam-Hard Rock bands from the late 80’s that never really made it big back in the day. There are a bunch of those bands that have decided to reunite 30 years later (Tora Tora, Babylon A.D., Black ‘N Blue to mention a few) and the bitter truth is that they most likely won’t make it big this time around either. Remember, I never said they sucked because whether they were bad or good is beside the point. For me, however, Jetboy for me weren’t of any interest back then. I saw a couple of videos on Headbanger’s Ball, noticed that they had ex- Hanoi Rocks bassist Sam Yaffa in the band as the replacement for the deceased Todd Crew, but those songs never made an impact on me at all and I never either owned or listened to any of their albums.

I only knew of their two first albums Feel The Shake (1988) and Damned Nation (1990) and up until now, I was convinced that they had split up since then. But a quick google told me that there are records released from 1997 up until 2010, but according to Wikipedia, they split up in 1992 and resurfaced back in 2006. I have no clue about the nature of the five albums released between 1997-2007 but they did release an EP, Off Your Rocker, in 2010. But that was nine years ago and only sporadic reunions has happened since then. What also stands clear is that there have been numerous line-up changes in the band since 2006. But the line-up that’s now reunited is with three originals – singer Mickey Finn and guitarists Billy Rowe and Fernie Rod – together with ex- Faster Pussycat bassist Eric Stacey and drummer Al Serrato. As I have never really listened to Jetboy before, I turn to a blank page when digesting their brand new come back album.

The album’s second single “Beating The Odds” opens the album and it sounds kind of like how I (vaguely) remember their 80’s videos did. It’s an energetic, sleazy and in-your-face rock-belter with lots of attitude. It sports some heaviness, it’s tough and raunchy and it rocks. I guess this one will be opening their future live shows as well. That said, the tune is catchy enough and a decent tune but I’m not completely hooked. Leading single and title-track is up next and it follows in its predecessor’s footsteps. It’s a gritty and rough groover with a hint of blues-rock and an immediate refrain that catches on right away. The tune screams  early 90’s Arena Rock with big riffs and a kick-ass rhythm. There’s also a twin-guitar solo that brings Thin Lizzy to mind, so thumbs up for that. It’s clearly a better tune than the opener and also very crowd-friendly which will make it a future live-killer.

“Old Dog, New Tricks” is punchy, direct, sleazy with a bluesy Hard rock feel powered by a dirty harmonica. The guitar riff goes for the throat, the rhythm section punches you in the gut and the chorus will make you crack ten beers on a Tuesday afternoon. This is a beefy tune and the best one so far. Yes, I dig this! “The Way That You Move Me”is an uptempo Country/Blues/Rock ballad that rests on the base of acoustic guitars. The tune comes across as Rolling Stones pick up Hanoi Rocks at the end of a wet party, trying to get a Soul-feel after hours. The beat is contagious, the main-melody addictive and the refrain is enormously catchy without being cheesy. Awesome! Latest single “Brokenhearted Daydream” is an uptempo pop-rocker with a slightly sleazy vibe. Some “whoa whoas” brings on a late 80’s vibe while most of the tune draws towards John Mellencamp or John Fogerty, only edgier. It’s damn catchy and a no-brainer as a single. Very good.

“Inspiration From Desperation” is a bouncy stomper late 80’s/early 90’s Sleaze Rock style. This is down n’ dirty, raunchy, good ole rawk and rowl with a bad-ass groove that’s here to make you raise your fist and grab a bottle even though it sports some political lyrics. This is really good stuff. “All Over Again” is upbeat and in-your-face and it kicks and bites with a vengeance. It’s a rowdy rocker in a faster pace that goes more for attitude than catchiness and therefore falters a bit. It’s not bad but it don’t grab me either. “She” (not a Kiss-cover, no) is a good-time, sleazy, fat rocker, pretty gritty with a beefy punch. It comes with a swagger very much in the vein of 80’s sleaze-rock that was once perfected by Aerosmith. The refrain catches on right away and the stripped-down Hard Rock sound makes it perfect for a live environment. Very good.

“A Little Bit Easy” comes along with a filthy and chunky groove, a big live-feel and a fat, rhythm groove and a drive that makes me wish it was 1989 all over again. This is a powerhouse dirt-rocker that would fit any strip joint anywhere like a glove – good one. “Every Time I Go” is an uptempo blues-rock ballad with a big Stadium Rock outlook. Pop vibes and Melodic Rock meets Sleaze-rock for a bump n’ grind and the brilliantly catchy refrain will have any crowd chanting along. Great! There’s a raunchy blues-rock influence over the Cajun smelling “Smoky Ebony” and the rowdy, rhythmic groove will make you swing forever. This is Southern Rock influenced Hard Rock that do not take any prisoners. Awesome! Closing track “Party Time!” needs no further explanation lyrically. Musically, it’s a happy-go-lucky pop-rock-sleaze grinder that says it’s Friday, the beer is cold and you have guests. It’s upbeat, feel-good, positive and catchy on a fine rock-groove. What a great way to end a record of this calibre.

If you’re looking for something new and revolutionary, something pretentious and completely original, look elsewhere because that’s not what Jetboy are all about. But if you want good, down n’ dirty, kick-ass Rock that hits you both in the jaw and the crotch, that pays homage to Rock that really rolls, then you have come to the right place. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m surprised just how good this record are because honestly, I didn’t think it would be. I guess they have proved me wrong! The guys might be older now but that hardly shows here. This is a youthful, down to the bone Rock album, made for the stage – Jetboy would be a perfect booking for any summer festival out there. 29 years after their last “real” release, Jetboy have been given a second chance and they made sure to take it. 

7/10

Tracklist:

1. Beating The Odds
2. Born To Fly
3. Old Dog, New Tricks
4. The Way That You Move Me
5. Brokenhearted Daydream
6. Inspiration From Desperation
7. All Over Again
8. She
9. A Little Bit Easy
10. Every Time I Go
11. Smoky Ebony
12. Party Time!

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